So it ended – four month and four days after my DUI arrest, I was found guilty of the reduced charge of reckless driving. After several months of negotiations, my attorney gave me the good news last week that the state had offered the reduced charge to which I could plead.
At this point in the process, I am sincerely grateful. I am grateful to be where I am. I am grateful for where I am headed. And I am eternally grateful that I can now focus on the road ahead rather than the criminal proceedings.
The consequences of the reckless driving conviction are all leaps and bounds better than a DUI conviction. I avoided jail time, and the fine is a third of what it would have been had I been convicted of a DUI. There is no additional drivers’ license suspension; so if I win at the DMV hearing tomorrow, I get my license back immediately. If I lose at the DMV hearing, my license will be suspended for a month – but that will be it. There will not be an additional six months tacked on to it. So those are things I am grateful for.
But as grateful as I am, there is a small voice inside of me that knows the consequences of my actions will forever haunt me. For the rest of my life, every time someone runs a background check on me, be it a potential employer or a state licensing agency, they will see that I had been arrested for a DUI and plead down to reckless driving as a result of it. They will see the terrible lapse in judgement that I displayed, and they will forever question whether I am fit to be in a position where my credibility needs to be unimpeachable. And there is no one to blame for this but myself.
In the short-term, as a result of the determination of guilt, i.e. guilty of reckless driving, points will be added to my DMV record. From cursory internet searches, it appears that the insurance rate hike will be substantial – anywhere between 22% to 88%.
But today I am content – not satisfied but content. My ultimate life goal, as I’d mentioned in the first blog post I made, is to rehabilitate myself. And a plea of reckless driving instead of a DUI does not change that goal. I’ve promised myself that this was the first and last time I was arrested or convicted. There will not be another such instance of awful behavior.
I will keep updating the blog in regards to my progress, next steps and probation. Perhaps tomorrow or later this week I’ll outline the terms of my probation and how I plan to fulfill them.
In the interim, I have submitted my bar exam application to the state. I’m sure it will be a tough sell asking the state to allow someone with such a recent misdemeanor conviction to take the bar exam and be admitted to the practice of law. But all I control at this point is my actions and my future. And as long as I keep working on myself, hopefully other things will take care of themselves.
The last DMV hearing is scheduled for tomorrow – I’ll update afterwards.