Let me begin this post by acknowledging that the only real victims here are those that were on the road with me the night of my DUI. I have before, and I continue to feel apologetic for my actions. There was a real possibility of me hurting you, and I count myself lucky that I did not.
I also want to state that anything that happens to me as a result of my DUI is both deserved and just.
With that out of the way, this post is more about what a person can lose as a result of a DUI. Besides just the shame of having a DUI on your record, the constant embarrassment of being unable to drive for anything other than work, and an overall tumble in self-worth, there are real and direct consequences. These are the consequences I am suffering and will continue to suffer in addition to any punishment the justice system levies upon me.
I am 30 years old. In 2013, I finished law school. In 2014, I was authorized to practice law in California, passing the most difficult state bar exam in the United States. All through school and bar exam, I continued to work as an engineer, hoping that through all this hard work, I can make the switch to law and practice law in the state of my choosing. Over the next two years, I had planned to take the state bar exams in multiple states.
That dream is now on life-support. From what I understand, a recent arrest for a DUI makes it darn near impossible for one to take the bar exam. You see, each state’s supreme court ensures that the lawyers being granted the license to practice in their state are of good moral character and fit to practice law. And a person with a DUI is perhaps both unfit to practice law and of not-so-great character. Thus, the state bar will often punt on allowing the potential lawyer from taking the bar exam or granting the license after the bar exam. This is especially true when the DUI, like the one I received, isn’t a youthful error but rather a result of a horrible decision of an adult. They may change their minds after a few years if they have evidence that the individual offender has rehabilitated himself. Unfortunately at 30, a five year delay in getting the bar license for the state I live in may as well be a death sentence for my law career.
As I’ve stated before, my parents immigrated to the United States and spent their life-earnings on lawyer fees — all to make sure that I could pursue higher education, and make something of myself. And when you come from a third world country, there are a few things you respect — doctors who are leaps and bounds better than your old home; educators who care about you; and the rule of law which ensures peace across the land. This admiration of the rule of law drove me towards law school.
So at the end of the day, I am left with a few things: unfulfilled childhood dream; six-figure student loan; immeasurable remorse; but still…the respect for law. The same one I broke.