The End of the Legal Journey
It took just over 6 months, but I was able to finish all the requirements of my plea agreement, and was thankfully released from probation early. It has been a month since my termination of probation was approved.
Since the release from probation and the formal closing of my case, I have asked myself: “what does it feel like to not be on probation anymore?” I wish it were a great accomplishment — it wasn’t. Probation is the lowest bar of common decency. Essentially, it says “just do what you are supposed to do as a member of society.” So there was no fanfare in having done the right thing. It was what I was supposed to be doing anyway. And that is its own reward.
But with the termination of my legal case, I look and I am most certainly a more mature individual now than I was when I was arrested. I have grown to see the practical side of laws in action. I have gone through counseling, an impact panel about drinking and driving, performed community service, become involved with AA, cut out alcohol completely, been drug tested with great frequency, taken and passed one of the hardest bar exams in the Union, and worked a full time job. Has it been challenging? You bet. But it has caused me to grow as a person.
My past is my past. There is no escaping the fact that I was arrested for drinking and driving and adjudicated guilty of the criminal charge of reckless driving as a result of it. But by paying my legal dues for drinking and driving, I believe I have begun to make amends for my mistake. And hopefully my experience allows me to help others from making the same mistake as I did.
So looking ahead, from a civic perspective, I just have two goals:
- Don’t repeat my mistake; and,
- Help others so I can continue to make amends.
From a personal perspective, the goal is simple: don’t let this DUI define me as a person or stop me from becoming the best human being I can be. I must continue to strive to do everything I am capable of doing — and hopefully my actions will prove to society that I have been sufficiently rehabilitated to deserve a second chance.
And so, while the legal ramifications of the DUI are finally behind me, it is only the beginning of the rest of my life.