A Year Ago Right Now…

Precisely a year ago, at this very hour, I was arrested.  At that moment, sitting in the drunk tank, I kept alternating between “I’ve ruined my entire life” and “this is most likely a bad dream and I will wake up soon.”

The truth is, a year removed from the DUI arrest, I am somewhere in the middle.  The DUI arrest was, unfortunately, not a dream.  And its implications are all too real.  But it is also has not been the end of the world.

A year removed, I am still deeply remorseful for my conduct, but thankfully, I am still around to ponder the consequences of drinking and driving.  And there have been some unexpected benefits that have come out of this awful decision — I am approaching a year of sobriety.

Sleeping in your own bed sure beats attempting to kill hours in jail before arraignment.

 

 

Looking Forward to Better Days

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.

Looking Ahead

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:

  1. Don’t repeat my mistake; and,
  2. 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.

Nine Months Since the DUI

One of the most intriguing things about the human condition is that in the moment, time stretches for what appears to be an infinite duration.  During the legal proceedings, I often felt that the DUI process would never end.  There was the lack of a drivers license, counseling, court date, DUI classes, fines to pay, and the stress of being only a singular person.  Combine that with studying for the bar exam for my state and eventually community service, and I can say that the last nine months have been the most difficult and possibly the most formative nine months of my life.

Looking back at it though, it seems like it was just yesterday.  (No, the sheer terror of seeing blue lights in your rear view mirror never goes away.  I’ve seen an officer drive behind me, and despite not doing anything wrong, felt that this was it…I was going to get pulled over, there will be a violation of probation, and I will end up in jail.  And nothing happened because I hadn’t done anything wrong).  The entire DUI arrest seems like it happened yesterday and I still have all of this stuff to deal with.

Despite the weirdness of time, in reality though, I am doing okay.  I still think about the DUI every day when I go to bed.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and the thought of having a criminal record eats away at me.  But like most things, time makes the pain a little less severe.  The entire scene has gone from being a terribly hurtful one to being a teachable one.  I know what I did was wrong and I won’t do it again.  But I won’t let myself be down because of it.  I am still a human being and I am still capable of magnificent things.  The DUI arrest is a part of my life now.  I must overcome it.

Community Service

I am about 60% through with my community services requirement, too.  The only place around here where I could get consistent community service hours is a non-profit used goods store.  It has been a life-saver for me.  I can go there after work, knock out a few hours and be home in time for dinner.  The first few days were extremely difficult.  Being asked to sweep the store was odd at first.  I was dressed in a dress shirt and nice slacks.  But then I remembered that those closest to me have cleaned toilets and floors just so that I could be a successful person in life.  There was no shame in it.  I kept coming back and they keep letting me come back.  It has been awesome.

I have become somewhat of an expert at purse organization.  Never in my life could I imagine the styles, colors, materials and brands that purses come in.  Now I organize them and hopefully it makes the shoppers lives easier.

There have been two amazing things that have come out of community service:

  1. I have been truly appreciated.  To a person, anyone who I have worked with at the store has told me what a good job I do.  Yes, community service is work that is not too taxing.  But I try to do it well.  And it helps that people appreciate it.  Several employees have jokingly told the manager to hire me full time.  I’m sure they do this joke with anyone who does community service there, but it makes me feel good.  It makes me feel appreciated.  And it makes me feel like I am on the right path.  As I’ve said before, with a DUI arrest, you lose your dignity.  And slowly, people help you gain it back.
  2. I am not afraid of my DUI arrest. You see, at first when people asked me why I was there at the clothing store in non-uniformed clothing organizing stuff or sweeping, I had a hard time explaining why I was there.  Now, I am honest about it — I am doing court ordered community service.  Yes, now when people ask me and I respond with that, there is that moment where they hesitate and sometimes walk away.  But then there was this guy who looked at me and said, “you’re too old to be a bad boy!”  And he was right.  I am too old to have made such a boneheaded decision.  But I must accept its consequences.

AA

AA continues to be wonderful to me.  As of this writing, I am a week away from my 9 month sobriety chip.  What is amazing is that there have been babies conceived and born after I stopped drinking.  It’s a great feeling to know that I am doing something great, and there are people who support me in this.  AA is truly a wonderful support group comprised of people who are passionate about recovery.

If you are afraid of going to a meeting, just do it.  Trust me, get the first one out of the way.  Get the first minute out of the way.  After that, it only gets better.  So much better.

Probation

As I mentioned above, violating probation is something that I am terrified of.  No, I am not doing anything wrong.  But it’s a scary feeling that a traffic infraction could lead me back to jail.  Thankfully, my probation officer is an amazing lady who has promised me that if I complete my community service hours and stick to being an upstanding member of society, we can work towards terminating the probation early.

Living without Alcohol

Being sober has been the easiest of the tasks since the DUI.  I lost so much due to drinking.  Giving it up been a piece of cake in comparison to other consequences.  I was a bit worried about what people around me would think when I ordered Coke instead of a beer, or refused a drink.  Honestly, no one cares.  No one cares if you drink Coke instead of beer.

Six Months Since the DUI and Six Months of Sobriety

It has been over six months since my DUI arrest.  In many ways, the arrest seems like it was just yesterday.  In many other ways, it was the longest six months of my life.

But the six month mark was special in that I was able to get my drivers’ license back.  I went to DMV, and the process was rather painless…as long as you don’t take into account a rather hefty reinstatement fee.  But that’s to be expected, and ultimately, a fair fee.  In the 3 weeks since the reinstatement, life has gotten so much easier.  Driving without restrictions is, I think, one of the most amazing privileges.  Imagine my life when I could not drive: wake up, call an Uber, and on a good day, they would arrive within 10 minutes.  Repeat the process for the way back home.  The walk to where I do my community service would take 15 minutes.  AA meeting is another 15 minutes.  If I took the bus instead of Uber or Lyft to work, that would be an additional hour easy.  All in all, not having a car required the expenditure of easily and hour, perhaps even 2 hours.  And this doesn’t take into account the cost of ride-sharing.

The worst of all feelings, when I didn’t have my license, was the feeling of helplessness.  If at 10 PM, I got hungry and didn’t have anything to eat at home, my options were either having pizza delivered or waiting until the morning.  Sure, it sounds like a really mundane first world problem.  And it is.  But you really do realize what a privilege driving really is when you can’t drive anymore.

So in many ways, with the license back, life is much easier now.  However, the emotional challenge doesn’t go away.  Not a day goes by when I don’t think about the DUI arrest and now having a criminal record.  Every day, I play the what-if game — what if I hadn’t had anything to drink that night, how different, and better, my life would be right now? But even with all this perspective and mental gymnastics, I have learned to accept that I cannot change the past.  I have a criminal record now for an offense that I committed.  I have done my best to follow the straight and narrow since.  And the only way I can…mitigate…my past is by doing the next right thing for the rest of my life.

I also picked up the six month sobriety chip last week at an AA meeting.  It’s a good feeling to know that despite my misstep in the past, I have, so far, done the one thing which is guaranteed to result in me not drinking and driving ever again — i.e. not drinking at all.

Through it all, as I sit here on Christmas Day with a full license and six months of sobriety, I have never been busier in life.  The bar exam is now a mere 60-some days away.  My job, though very fulfilling, has been busier than usual.  Add in AA meetings, a support group meeting, and about 15-20 hours of community service a month, and you can see why I say that I’ve never been busier 🙂  But at the end of the day, when my head hits the pillow, I know it has been a day filled with progress.  And that is all I can hope for.

Merry Christmas, and a happy new year!

 

 

Beginning of the End

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.

 

Continually looking over your shoulder

Before the DUI, life was so much simpler.  Everyday things were…well, everyday things.  I want to give a basic example for why you shouldn’t drink and drive.

Where I work, we sometimes have after-hours software releases.  This is to reduce the amount of users that get affected by the downtime.  On a Friday evening, there are only a few users, if that, who use the system.  So it makes for a perfect release time.  Before the DUI, if the boss said, “let’s do it at 11 PM on Friday,” my response was “absolutely!” After the DUI, I still say yes but the optimism that comes with releasing new software to our customers is faded.  The stress of having to drive at night creeps in.

You see, in my state, driving after a DUI arrest is limited to business purpose only.  This means that the offender is allowed to drive to work, school, church or the doctor.  The law does contain a provision that allows for things necessary to sustain livelihood, but the law fails to define what that ambiguous statement means.  So if the offender gets pulled over and is not going to work, school, church or the doctor, and the officer does not believe that the driver is driving for something that is a necessity, the offender can be arrested for violating the drivers’ license restriction — combine that with a DUI and the already blemished resume becomes even more troublesome. (This isn’t legal advice.  I am not your lawyer.  What your driving restrictions mean in your state can only be answered by your attorney. What I am sharing about the license restrictions is only what is true for my case as explained to me by my attorney.)

So back to the story — last Friday, we had an 11 pm release.  I was mortified — I kept thinking, “if I get pulled over, would the officer believe me when I told him I am going to work or coming back from work, especially this late at night?”  To cover my bases, I printed a copy of the release night email sent to us by our boss, along with my daily calendar to show that I was truly supposed to be at work. Even though I was in full compliance of my license restriction and had the paperwork for the release night right next to me, I just had this sinking feeling that no officer would believe that I was going to work at 11 PM.

Thankfully, I was not stopped. But I hope you can see how a simple thing, like driving to work, which is completely legal under my limited license, caused such stress.  If you’ve not gotten a DUI, congratulations.  Keep it that way.  Life is much simpler without one.

How fast can the DUI go away? Hard to tell…

At this point, it has been over 90 days since my DUI arrest.  There haven’t been any developments since I last posted.  The DMV hearing is delayed, but still pending.  And since the DMV hearing isn’t completed, the criminal case hasn’t moved forward.  My criminal law professor used to say something along the lines of, “in reality, the criminal justice system does not move at the convenience of the offender.”  And that is certainly true – and fair, I think.

So with that preamble out of the way, here is what I’ve learned so far in 90 days, and what you should be prepared for:

  1. There is no quick way to resolve the pending cases, i.e. the DMV case and the criminal case, unless you plead guilty. Unfortunately, in larger cities too many people make the terrible decision to drink and drive. As a result, the caseloads are incredibly high. So you and your loved ones need to be prepared – your restricted driving privileges will affect every day things. And the stress that comes from having cases pending against you won’t disappear overnight. For me, each passing day is spent reliving the night of my arrest and the consequences that have followed. These have been the longest 90-some days of my life.
  2. Even after the cases are resolved one way or the other, the financial consequences don’t go away. The money spent on lawyers, the hike in insurance premiums, the DMV surcharges (if your state has them), etc. will impact you for several years – in my case, at the very best, the case has eaten away 3 years’ worth of savings. It’s a lot of money.
  3. Then there are the non-economic consequences that last a life-time, which often end up impacting the finances anyway. For example, if you’re convicted of a DUI in most states, the conviction stays on the record for the rest of your natural life. In my case, this means that I can’t sit for a certain state bar to become a lawyer in that state for at least a year. I can’t even be sure if or when my own state will admit me to practice. While this seems like a non-economic consequence at first blush, each year not practicing law means loss of income from a source for which I went to school. Then there is the concern about job applications and interviews – companies will do a background check, and even in the best-case scenario, the DUI will make for an uncomfortable chat. There are other things too – like being unable to visit Canada for at least 10 years.

So the purpose today’s post is really just self-reflection.  The lesson is simple – your life will be affected in a major way if you drink and drive.  If you’re reading this post because you were recently arrested for a DUI, I suggest that you understand that this DUI situation won’t go away overnight.

The best advice here is don’t drink and drive.  The second best advice is that if you’ve already been arrested for a DUI, it is time to start working on rehabilitation of your character.  With time, and major effort on your part, the consequences can be managed and mitigated – but never eliminated.

The Daily Reminders of an Awful Decision

Getting arrested for a DUI changes the way you think. That may be by design, of course, so that you don’t repeat the error.

The one thing that I have consistently caught myself doing is thinking about the DUI, the stigma associated with being arrested, and how my future will now be different because of drinking and driving. Each time, I remind myself that the situation isn’t a tragedy. It could have been a tragedy but thankfully, it wasn’t – I was removed from the road that night before I could cause damage to anyone else. Even the consequences I am currently going through aren’t tragic. They are difficult now, to be certain, but they aren’t tragic. In fact, they for my own good. Oh, and they aren’t tragic because they are a but-for and foreseeable result of my actions.

What causes me to think about the DUI

Most things lead me down the rabbit-hole where I end up thinking about the DUI. It can be something complex, like visiting the city I grew up in for the first time since the DUI and realizing that the last time I was in this city, I had never been arrested and there was nothing holding me back in life. But often, it’s something much simpler – like a song coming on that I haven’t heard in a while, and automatically going back to the moment I heard it last, which soon leads to the realization of how simple life was in that very moment. Certainly, I had problems then, too, but none of them were criminal in nature. The song-association is especially troublesome because most of my music listening took while driving somewhere. So there’s the added pain of being unable to drive where and when I want.

But I am getting better, I think

Listen, going through the DUI process isn’t easy. Spending the night in jail, taking a financial hit, the social stigma, the uncertainty about the legal process, and the worries about how job prospects and bar admission will be impacted is stressful stuff. Hell, right now, all I can do is think about Wednesday – on Wednesday, I have my final DMV hearing. During this hearing, in all likelihood, my drivers license suspension will be upheld. This would result in 30 days of no-driving whatsoever, followed by 2 more months of restricted driving.

But through this stress, the actions I am taking, I think, are making me a better person. I certainly hope they are. And with each new event coming my way, I am attempting to keep a positive attitude. For the most part, I feel much better – so I have no reason to believe that these steps aren’t working.

  1. Each week day, I am attending an AA meeting. The meetings are a good reminder of what can happen to my life if alcohol takes over. And it also provides a good look into how good life can be if I keep at it on the straight and narrow. I am 24 days away from getting my 90-day sobriety chip, and by going without alcohol one day at a time, I’m sure I’ll get there before I know it. I chuckled a bit as I typed that because a couple months is such a short period of time. My sponsor has been in the program for two decades, and just last week I heard a gentleman speak who has been sober for longer than I have been alive. I hope one day I am one of these sages of AA.
  2. I decided to take DUI classes – the program has a two-fold purpose: through classroom education, they attempt to change your mindset about drinking and driving; and they make you take an evaluation to determine whether counseling could benefit you. My classes are scheduled for next weekend. The evaluation took place earlier this past week, and the results indicated that I could benefit from counseling.
  3. I spoke with the counselor last week after the evaluation. He mentioned that the referral likely took place because my BAC was .135 at the time of the arrest, which means I must have high tolerance for alcohol – and when you have a higher tolerance, the referral is almost guaranteed. He seemed like a great guy who stated he would like to meet with me at least 5 times for an hour each time; and since this is a 1 on 1 counseling session (instead of in a group setting), he said we can get right to helping me. I will be meeting with him weekly starting this upcoming week. I’ll post about my experience as I go through counseling.
  4. As I had mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve signed a contract with the state’s Lawyers’ Assistance Program. The contract has three major stipulations:
    • I cannot drink alcohol. At all. For any reason. Not even a non-alcoholic beer.
    • I have to check in every morning, and on any given morning, they can ask me to provide a sample to test for the presence of alcohol. The test can detect the presence of alcohol for up to 5 days.  Given that I check in every morning, even a single drink could spell the end of my chance at becoming a lawyer.
    • I have to attend lawyers’ support group meetings weekly. At this meeting, you get to talk to other lawyers who are in a similar position as you are. And like I mentioned last week, more than anything else, you feel like you aren’t alone which really helps me realize, albeit temporarily, that there is a future and it can be bright if I work at it.
  5. The Lawyers’ Assistance Program has also assigned me a monitor. I get to check in with him at least once a month. I talked to him on Friday, and I’m meeting him on Thursday in person. Hopefully, having someone walk me through the process will relieve the anxiety a bit.

So what?

Well, this morning when I was listening to Simon and Garfunkel, I remembered that the last time I listened to them, I had been driving through the mountains of North Carolina with my girlfriend. As much as I’d like to make that drive again, I can’t – not for another 4 months at least while my drivers’ license is suspended…potentially even longer if the judge in the criminal case finds me guilty, which would result in an additional 6 month suspension. And that’s really disappointing. But then I took about 15 minutes and tried to remind myself of all the good things I am trying to do to rehabilitate myself. If these actions have the intended result, in a year when the legal process has worked itself out, I will look back and this may have been the best thing to have happened to me. I hope.

The Anxiety from the Unknown

When one sits around looking at the clock, time seems to slow down to a gut-wrenching crawl.  I can attest to it because I did that yesterday.  Each passing second felt like an eternity.

It happened because I had my second DMV hearing yesterday.  A loss at this hearing would mean 30-days of no driving whatsoever, after which point I could get my conditional business-purpose-only license back.  By the time my attorney called me, I had perhaps refreshed the drivers license lookup page about a dozen time throughout the day.  It showed my drivers license as suspended each time.  My attorney informed me that they need yet another DMV hearing, and it would take place in two weeks.
What followed was rather unnatural.  Given that my fate was not yet sealed, I should have rejoiced just a bit.  But no.  I felt like there will never be a day when the DUI doesn’t stop haunting me…that perhaps I would be better off if yesterday the DMV had just suspended my license for 30 days and I could move on from there…that now I would have to wait in limbo for another two weeks.  I completely overlooked the small joy of having the business purpose only license for another two weeks.
Then in the evening, on my way back home from work, I heard something on NPR that changed my perspective.  On the show All Things Considered, they replayed the interview with this gentleman from Greece.  It had been recorded five years ago.  In that interview, the man stated that he had a fiance but no job.  He lived with his parents, and she lived with hers.  He desperately wanted employment but none was available due to the economic crisis in Greece.  But he was optimistic.  Optimistic that the future would be better than the present.  Fast forward to today, and he was interviewed again.  His fiance left him for someone with employment.  He has moved out of his parents house but still does not have a steady job.  The longest job has lasted is 2 months.  And yet, he remains optimistic.  Because he stated that is the only way he can survive from day to day.
And it hit me — here is this man who is suffering from the consequences of something that he had nothing to do with.  He just happens to be a Greek citizen and it just so happens that the Greek economy stinks, causing his lack of gainful employment, achievement of life goals, etc.  But through it all, he has remains optimistic.
Unlike the gentleman, my consequences are a direct result of my decisions.  So unlike him, I have a reason for my drivers license suspension and a criminal case against me.  If he can be positive about his future, why can’t I?  Being down about this serves no purpose whatsoever.  All I can do is never make such a terrible decision again, and remain optimistic that life gets better.  And I honestly believe it does get better…if you make the right decisions going forward.  I am not saying that I, and people like me, shouldn’t feel awful.  I do, and I’m sure everyone in my position does.  In fact, this guilt and anxiety is important for making sure that we don’t drink and drive again.  But in order for us to never drink and drive again, it’s also important to ensure that we become rehabilitated.  And if we go into rehabilitation with a positive attitude, life becomes easier to manage.
Last time, I’d mentioned about meeting people from all walks of life at AA.  That remains true.  These are people, some of whom have had DUIs, that have come together to form an amazing community that is ever so helpful towards newcomers, and ever so grateful for their sobriety. These people are the living proof that life can get better if you put in the work.  I have been going to AA meetings daily, and each time I walk away with a message of hope — and as humiliating as a DUI is, I walk away from these meetings feeling like a person again.
A few weeks ago, I reached out to the Lawyers Assistance Program in my state.  My contract with them states that I cannot and will not drink again.  And to prove my sobriety, I will be randomly tested for alcohol and drugs.  I also have to attend weekly meetings with other lawyers who have had substance abuse issues in their past.  My entire law career depends on meeting the terms of this contract.  And to be completely honest, I love it.  LAP is one of my only hopes at getting admitted to the bar.  So just even having the possible opportunity to get admitted makes me feel elated.
Oh and it’s empowering — you walk into a room with attorneys and realize that you’re not alone.  There are others who have made similar mistakes; but rather than just being dejected, they’ve actively sought help and are now members of the Bar.  It’s just…helpful…to see that you can be in my position and still have a chance to practice your passion.  That life isn’t going to stop.  That there is a tomorrow.
Until the next DMV hearing, all I can do is hope for the best and keep working on myself.  And while the DMV hearing and its inevitable result will come an end one day, the process of keeping watch over myself, lest I make a terrible decision again, never will — and never should end.

Life without Driving Privileges

Last week was my DMV hearing.  My attorney called me afterwards stating that the hearing went as expected, and another hearing has been scheduled for mid-August.  By the time the mid-August hearing rolls around, I will have been without driving privileges for over 70 days.  The business purpose temporary license helps.  But at the same time, here are my impressions around the rehabilitative aspects of losing the license.

  1. Living without a restriction-free license is an effective tool.  Most, if not all, folks with a DUI would think about committing the crime again.  Seriously, things like buying pet-food require coordination.  “Hey, when you come over this weekend, can we please stop by the grocery store?”
  2. The temporary business-purpose-only license is a blessing.  I can maintain my livelihood, and hold on to some semblance of normalcy.  Sure, I miss colloquial “open road,” but with the BPO, you learn to appreciate the simple pleasure of driving to work on the daily basis.  And I am terrified — if I lose at the second DMV hearing, I lose my driving privileges, including the temporary BPO, for 30 days.  This means no driving whatsoever.  This will, without question, be the most trying experience of my adult life.
  3. You get to know Uber and Lyft drivers.  Seriously – want to get on the train to go see your girlfriend who lives out of town? Take the Lyft to the train station. Get on the train. Get off the train. Get into a cab that takes you to your girlfriend’s house.  A $30 dollar per-trip gas bill is now $120 but that’s the price I must pay.

In my mind, sometimes I have inappropriate thoughts — most commonly, “why me? I have already promised to never drink again, and I sure as hell won’t drink and drive! Why can’t I get my license back already?”  But then I put myself in my pre-June shoes.  I would hear that statement and say, “great that you’re repentant, but keeping you off the road is definitely working both for the society at large, and yourself as a person.  So let’s make sure you finish your punishment.”  And if you have never gotten a DUI, I am sure you feel the same way.  So I understand why my driving privileges are revoked.  I understand it is doing me good.  I appreciate that it has already done me a lot of good as a person.  Therefore, nothing I can or should do other than keep moving forward from this point on.

As I finish typing this, I can’t help but appreciate how lucky I have been…been with a car since the day I turned 16; lived a fantastic adulthood; never had any issues with the law; finished law school cum laude…and then made a horrific decision which has led me to this point.  And even in that horrific decision, the consequences have been minimal — I didn’t injure or kill anyone.  For that, I will be forever thankful.  Perhaps one day when I get my driving privileges back, I can prove to the society that it was right to give me a second chance.  Until then, I shall take joy in my drive to and from work.