Dwi Changed My Life....

On Friday, January 13th, 2012, I made a decision that would forever alter my life. It had been a typical first week back to school, chaotic and stressful, and I could not wait until the weekend so I could have a few glasses of wine and relax with family and friends. I had no intentions of going out for a few drinks, but at the last minute, I decided to go to my favorite wine shop after school and have a couple of glasses of wine with a few friends. Typically, if I plan to drink at all, I have a close friend drop me off and pick me up (never can be too careful!) That afternoon I figured I could have a couple of glasses and leave in time to get home before my husband had to go the high school gym and do radio for our basketball team. I had been so tired and stressed all week and looked forward to relaxing for a couple of hours before I went home. I drank a few glasses and left for home. I knew that I wasn't completely sober but had convinced myself that I was fine to drive home. Boy! Was I ever wrong? I got about two blocks from the wine shop and stopped at a stop sign. I saw a truck coming and, again, was convinced that it was a four-way stop. I went through the stop sign and bam! I hit the truck! The next couple of hours were a blur! I remember being in a state of panic because I knew I was probably legally drunk and going to jail! I did not pass the sobriety test and was arrested for DWI. I had called my husband when the accident happened, and he was there to witness the whole humiliating scene. I was taken to the police station and went through the whole process of booking and breathalyzer tests. Humiliating! Ashamed! Embarrassed! In total disbelief! How does a responsible, 40 year old educated mother and educator get arrested for DWI? How was I going to face my children?

The next week was the longest, most stressful week of my life! I was consumed with guilt, shame, and anxiety. I got a VERY good lawyer and was in contact with him all week. He assured me that legally I would survive this with 1st offense punishments. I didn’t think I would ever get over the emotions I felt.

Fast forward to one year later….January 20, 2013. After reading what I wrote the week the DWI happened, I can tell you how I am dealing with the DWI a year later. I would like to tell you that the guilt, shame, and anxiety goes away, but it hasn’t for me. Here’s what happened to me legally in the last year….
• I kept my license until my case went to hearing with the Motor Vehicle Department. On March 16th, they suspended my driver’s license for one year.
• On April 16th, I installed an ignition interlock in my vehicle so that I could drive…I had not been to court yet on the DWI charges, but my lawyer advised me to install the interlock device so I could continue to drive until my hearing.
• My case did not go to hearing until June, 2012….a whole 6 months later. I only had to attend one court date (my lawyer took care of all the rest), and I took a plea deal because going to court was not going to end well.
• I was sentenced to the minimum sentence for 1st offenders: one year interlock device, 24 hours community service, DWI school, ASPEN class (1st offenders program), drug and alcohol screening, and one year probation.

Even though the thought of being a convicted DWI offender was so unbelievable to me, I was grateful that I was not charged with an aggravated DWI (I had blown a .15 and had had an accident), and that I received the sentence I did. I felt that I could complete my sentence and move forward. In the months that followed, I completed my community service, attended DWI school, and the ASPEN class. Every time I had to face people in these venues, I could not fathom that I had put myself in this position….humiliation and anxiety continued to consume my every waking moment. I meet with my probation officer every month and have my interlock serviced once a month as well.

The interlock has been a nightmare….false fail tests and malfunctions….but I am surviving….fortunately, my probation officer is aware of the problems, and it has not negatively affected my time served. I, too, have had to make excuses and make up stories about not having people in my car. Those close to me know, but it has greatly impacted my whole family and my life…..

Every time I go to see the probation officer, I stress about whom I will see and what he will say….even though I know that I am completely innocent and not doing ANYTHING to break my probation. I am still in disbelief that I am on probation and not truly free….I never imagined not having my freedom. Definitely, freedom is something we take for granted.

I have three months left on probation and on the ignition interlock. Time has flown, but the journey has been hell. I don’t think I will ever be the same person I was before I got the DWI. I have really put myself through a lot emotionally…I don’t sleep well, and my anxiety levels are always at an all-time high. My family and friends have been so supportive and ensure me that I am human and made a bad mistake, but I haven’t been able to move past this yet. It has definitely taken a toll on my relationships with people I love. My social life took a nose-dive because who wants to hang around with the girl who can’t drink or who got the DWI? Friends that I thought were friends abandoned me because my situation changed. In retrospect, I have learned to recognize the loss of friendship as not true friendship at all, but it still hurts. The financial impact has been devastating as well….I have spent about $7,000.00 to date on lawyer fees, class fees, probation, and interlock service fees. When the commercials say you can’t afford a DWI, they are right. Nothing about this process has been easy.

My husband always says to make a positive out of a negative. So, I guess the positives are that I truly had to address the problems I was going through when I got the DWI. I was drinking too much and too often.... Second, every one I know well thinks twice before drinking and getting behind a wheel. Third, my focus on life has changed, for the better.

I am not going to sugar coat this whole DWI process….it sucks! It has changed my whole life….I am looking forward to the next few months when I can finally move forward and be free….Bottom line…despite the struggles and the pain, I have survived, and you will too….time heals all….I have faith…..
momwhomademistake momwhomademistake
4 Responses Jan 21, 2013

I have recently been convicted of a DUI in VA. It took 4 months to go to court. Due to my lack of food on a very stressful day, I too was caught. I am taking total responsibility except for telling my teenage boys. Their Father is a functioning alcoholic and I was the sober one for 20 years. ( 4 years divorced) My biggest mistake was being so totally honest and naïve on the night of arrest. I blew a .14. My attorney could find no mistakes on the part of the officer and I was obviously drunk. I pass sobriety test when they got me to jail and only had to stay until I got a ride.
I am now going through the hassle and expense of setting up classes and interlock. all my friends live 30 minutes away and family an hour away. It is very frustrating and I am feeling so sad and lonely for the next year. Interlock is 6 months. restricted license for 1 year, Any advise on the interlock? I also drive a Prius hybrid. ASAP told me I also have to get a SR-44 from my insurance. More money !
I suppose the next year will determine who my Real friends are!
I have no husband or boyfriend and the last child moves away to college in a few weeks.
Between empty nest syndrome and this, I am very sad!

I was sober before too. 6 years and went on a 3 week binge and then sober 3 more years. Now I have been drinking 2 years or so and though I function pretty well in all other reguards my luck ran out. I had a few drinks and drove home. I don't remember the accident. I hit four cars on the opposite direction. Someone is hurt real bad. My fiance is hurt. I don't know how bad the others are. I broke my ankle and shoulder and had multiple surgeries. Then after the last one I went to jail 2 days later. I am on in house arrest now till I go back to court. I had never been arrested before. I have a good track record as far as a responsible member of society. I have now sought legal counsel and with this dui charge I am possibly facing 2 to 20 years in prison. I live in Vegas and a judge can't suspend a sentence on a dui with substantial bodily harm. My insurance won't be able to cover all the damage. I am scared the attorney I pick won't be able to plea me out. I don't know how to make amends for all the damage I have caused. I like to help people not hurt them. I was on the news and now people know my name as a monster who did this. I didn't think I was that messed up. I hope anyone that reads this will never drink and drive again. This is the most awful thing ever. If you got a ticket or hit a car and that is all that happened please let it be the worst thing that happened to you! I am not making light of your situation or saying I don't feel sorry that you feel the things you feel. Just count your blessings that it could always be a lot worse. I wish now that I had thought this bad decision I made that day through. If I can save someone else from making the same mistake I made then that is about all I can do to make this a benefit of some sort.

Dear momwhomademistake,

Thank you whole heartedly, for your candor on your struggle with the DWI AFTER the fact. I am in the same position currently and KNOW it will get better, but going through this is awful. I am not sure what state you reside in; if you mentioned it in your story, I spaced it. I am in NC and at 44 got my first DWI two weeks ago. I too, hit a mailbox (property damage) and my BAC level was .19. I didn't eat that day and relied on someone making me two drinks. I only drank once at home since the incident and doing so it turned my stomach and made me feel guilty; so I haven't picked up any alcohol since. I feel like my freedom has been stolen. I am depending on rides to/from work... I am an educated woman who has a great job - had to tell my boss which wasn't too bad, just humiliating. As for the DWI assessment, I went immediately and recieved 26 hours at $500 for them. Additionally, Celebrate recovery, or AA is mandatory for 6 sessions. I am preparing for the worst, next month when I go to court, only because I would rather be pleasantly surprised with the outcome, but in NC they are strict as heck. My attorney is working on my temporary driving privlege at the moment, which will help me get some freedom back. The friends I THOUGHT were my friends, aren't. I know some are laughing behind my back. The people who are supportive are those who I have learned are worth my time and effort. All the others, I will not bother with any longer. It's amazing what a DWI charge does to ones life. I agree with you; it IS for the better but, reading stories like yours, the reality is that it's not going to be over with any time soon.

Thanks for sharing your story,


Thank you for sharing your story. I am almost 6 months in. I am not having as much guilt anymore. I just want to get on with my previous plans to leave. I am still in the court system. My future plans are all in the hands of these people who do not even know me and believe they are in a position to judge me. I am ready to move on and hope this experience does not control my entire future with my social life or career. It has to get better. I can think of the cost of additional insurance and all that either. My plan to move will be greatly impacted if the court does not let me leave and soon. Again, thank you for sharing your story with us.

My husband got a dui last night. I was doing a search to find out how to support him even though i am completely against drinking and driving and found your article. How was your husband through all this. Any advice will help I feel sick to my stomach.

Hi mamabear13,

I just wanted to tell you that I was the one who was charged, but my husband (who is ALSO against drinking & driving) has been pretty supportive. His outlook is that he loves me and will see through this with me; but makes me aware that I need to take ownership of this, which I have. Sometimes it is hard on him and he shows me a 'tough love' attitude, but at the end of the day, he is supportive.

I am not sure what else I can add since I am on your husband's side of events; but hang in there; keep doing your research and there are a LOT of support groups out there for these types of issues.

Good luck,