Dui - Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is A Freight Train
The lights at the end of the tunnel..I keep catching glimpses but it's only a mirage...You really can't afford it.
5 years ago I moved into a new town a couple hundred miles from my old one. I went out to explore the area and ended up meeting a beautiful girl at a bar.
Over the next year we became serious and I ended up moving in with her. I had a six figure job, a brand new red merc roadster and no bills.
Then the trouble started. The girl was a hardcore drunk. I had a hard time keeping up with her. She wanted to go out every night on the town. Looking back she wanted a drinking buddy not a husband. After realizing this and hearing stories about her as I become familiar with the area I broke it off, moved into a hotel and purchased a house. At the time I traveled a lot. I started seeing her again. I was at home (not often since I traveled) and I enjoyed the company. A week after moving into my new home...
About 4 years ago I was pulled over for suspected speeding and subsequently received a dui at .08 bac. The officer was actually a pretty good guy. He even told me that he didn't think I was drinking and had only asked me to take the breathalyzer to train a new recruit. I had no idea that I was over the legal limit. I was upset at the system, got out of the hospital after my blood test and had the car transported home on a roll back.
That night I told her (party girl) that I was cutting back on the "socializing" and that I wanted to stay home more often. I brushed off the dui and went on with my life, or so I thought.
She agreed. This new lifestyle lasted 3 days. The following weekend she was begging to go out. She explained to me that we had been cooped up at home and that it was nice out and we should put the top down and go to the river.
We had dinner and a few martinis. She was bringing them to me and I obliged. It was my fault for drinking until I couldn't see.
That night on the way back home I was puled over again for suspected speeding. This time I deserved it. I was dead guilty and hammered. I didn't have an accident or hurt anyone other than myself but I was drank then drove. The moment I saw the sirens I had this inner feeling that my life was going to change and it was going to be worse than I could possibly image. .24 BAC
I was released again from the hospital since I hadn't been convicted of DUI before (only arrested) and had the car sent home on a rollback again.
From the moment of the stop I had this sinking feeling that I could't shake or explain but it was worse than unsettling.
I could complain that neither officer really had any probable cause because they estimated my speed by an "educated guess". I could be upset that I was hauled into the local judges office a week later and forced to hand over my license immediately and was promised that I would receive credit. Guilty even before my first preliminary hearing! I could even complain that I was required to attend classes 15 miles away without any license. I might even get upset by the fact that I was being treated guilty before conviction.
The fact is I was the only one who made the decision to drive although I might argue that I didn't intend to drink and drive.
Unlike the first episode, I was more than intoxicated.
I still can say that a .08 bac shouldn't qualify myself as too drunk to operate a vehicle. I do know right from wrong therefore do not condone DUI..
Anyway, I spent just short of $30K in trials , motions, expert witnesses and everything under the sun to fight it.
In the end it was all in vain. The DA stood up before the preceding started and made the expert witnesses tell the courtroom how much and by whom they were paid. The trial lasted less than an hour. The judge stopped and turned to me and said "no matter how much you paid for this, it ends now".
I was going at this all alone. My drinking buddy girlfriend turned into a nightmare. Now I wasn't going to take her anywhere. She stayed at my place and drank until she became violent and uncontrollable. I wasn't drinking, which wasn't any fun for her. Eventually I would put her out of the house and have her call a fiend. Finally she decided to leave one night a week or so later when I wouldn't party with her anymore and ended up getting a dui on the way to a bar from my place. At this point I couldn't take it anymore and was looking for peace so that I could concentrate on keeping my job and to eliminate my only reason for drinking. I was forced to circumnavigate and tiptoe around the system to keep my job but ultimately I ended up staying at home freaked out for the next 3 years waiting for the outcome.
I bought a car and registered it in a friends name (with permission) , I rented cars to travel if I had to to avoid detection. I hired taxis when on the road if I could hide it from my colleagues and hired limos when I culodn't out of my own pocket. I could make a giant list of things I did with licenses and everything else I did (that I am not proud of) to keep from being caught at work or pulled over by the cops.
3.5 Years later...
Needless to say, I was found guilty even though the prosecution could not show probable cause at trial. I elected to forgo the second trial that I had already paid for because it was a smoke and mirror defense and I didn't want to **** off the judge any more than I already had. I guess that I came to the realization that due process was a thing that really couldn't be quantified. It was up to the judges to do whatever they felt.
I began to ponder the penalties for these victimless crimes while I listened to my new jail friends about the crimes that they had committed and what their punishment was. I was shocked to learn that ungraded misdemeanor charges could garner stiffer penalties than felony charges...
I spent 6 days in jail with 2 days on an appeal for the first lost trial. At this point I had been without a license for over 3.5 years. I was lucky enough to have the 2nd offense changed to a second - First offense. The Pa supreme court passed a ruling that you couldnt be charged with a subsequent offense until convicted of a previous. Mine were so close in time that I was a rarity with 2 first offenses. This was a fluke and the direct result of my right to speedy trial that was ignored. 700 Days had expired before the prosecution would turn over the discovery package. I completed the highway safety classes and also was evaluated and told that I need only to attend a single alcohol counceling meeting. It could have been 30 more.
1 year ago...
I was laid off. The job loss finally caught up with me. After all of the work, special planning when traveling and everything else I had to sneak around to do keep my job, I finally ended up catching the silver bullet for something other than the DUI's.
I still hadn't heard a word from the Dept of Transportation on how long my suspension was going to be. To this day I still don't know. The court did recommend that I be given credit for my suspension but also made it clear that they do not hand down suspension sentences , it was up to the DOT to do so.
About this time, the ex drinking buddy showed up on my doorstep one day. SHe had heard that I was a hermit and that I was building websites and started a small on line presence. She asked if I would build her a site (for her business) in exchange for some modeling work and that she was going to throw in a custom made quilt for my first godchild.
I took her up on the offer. I built the site and waited for my modeling work and quilt. She would show up, start drinking and nothing would happen. Then the spazzing out started again. My only friend in the area (since I was a prisoner of my home) kept telling me that if I was stupid enough to let her in my house that I should start live broadcasting her episodes nightly and have fun with it on line.
A week later she toted her quilt and some other tools to complete the job so I let her in. 3 Hours later she freaked, I took her by her arms and put her out on my door step. She stood on the front porch and screamed for me to let her back in and that she wanted her things (that I was gathering up frantically since I was on probation and didn't want any trouble) and banged on the front door.
I placed her stuff outside and locked the door thinking that I would never have to deal with her again. I started to clean up the mess in my kitchen from the crazy that I had just been punched in the face by who cleared the majority of the dinner that I had prepared onto my floor.
Was I ever so wrong. That moment in time is still frozen in my mind. I had that feeling like I had a few years before when I was arrested for my second DUI.
Minutes later the local law enforcement showed up and knocked at my front door. Why they didnt' use the doorbell I will never know , I assumed it was crazy girl. They came around to the back of my house where the doors were wide open and I was cleaning up the aftermath.
The cops came in, asked me to turn around and put handcuffs on me. I had 6 days to go to complete my probation so that I could move ( I was able to move in a week at that point) and start my life over again. I was now in violation of probation.
The first officer was a woman. I greeted her and was cut short. She never asked me what happened. She ignored the bruises on my face.
70 days later I was released from jail for a re-sentencing for my first offense dui. This included 3.5 months of increased probation (supervised as the rest of it was) and a new charge of simple assault.
It didnt' matter who was at fault. It didn't matter that the male cops told me that they know who the "10-71" was that I had called them about before. I was charged. It didn't' matter that they had to go along with the police chiefs wife (the arresting officer). What matters is that I am not ARD eligible for the SA charge because of the DUI's (making me ineligible for ARD for them either since I had 2 charges).
I have accepted responsibility for everything that I ever did in my life.I drank and drove and admit it. What I don't accept is the fact that I have been treated like a 3rd class citizen from the moment that I was arrested the first time until this very day. It was my fault I let the crazy in.. I knew better. I could blame it on being lonely at home but in the end it was another poor decision that I made.
Being over 40 and never having been charged for anything other than speeding tickets before has made me reflect on my life and what I have lost and how I feel when I leave my home (what my neighbors think). My neighbors have seen the police here for the DUI's and the crazy girl on a few occasions.
I still can't see the light at the end of the tunnel no matter how hard I squint. I am facing the stigma of a simple assault as well. My ability to fight the charge was severely diminished because of the DUI's. Looking back it seems that if I would have just plead guilty to the DUI's I could have moved on with my life years ago.
So now, I have sold off about 90% of my assets. I am stuck at home and cannot drive let alone get a job since I am over qualified in a poor economy and can't move. My Probation officer knows that my home will likely be turned back over to the bank by the end of the year when my unemployment runs out.
I am stuck in this town until I go to trial for the new charge and cannot move if my appeal for my second DUI is ruled upon. Sleeping on a couch in an empty house that really isn't mine anymore.
My family can't help. I am facing homelessness, destroyed credit and a criminal history. And I still have face probation for the first DUI (if I loose the appeal - Here everything is supervised probation) and more license suspension time. I just learned this week that if I had not appealed my DUI, I would not serve any more probation time. What is the rational for this? Being penalized for exercising my right to an appeal?
All along the laws have been bent by those that enforce them. I have lost all faith in the judicial system.
You could call me a habitual drunk and a wife beater. I think anyone who looked at my rap sheet today might think that. Sadly it just isn't the case but it is a cross to bare from drinking and driving.
I still keep my hopes for wining my appeal. I also hope to beat my case at trial with all of the evidence that I have or to get it reduced to a lesser misdemeanor (from an M2 to M3). Only time will tell. The clock keeps ticking.
The ultimate penalty for me wasn't the jail time or the license suspension. It was losing everything that I worked for for the last 20 years and the supervised probation that keeps me from going anywhere.
You could argue and say that I should have just called the police and I probably should when she started freaking out. I didn't because I didnt' want any more trouble. I had removed her before with the police before I had probation.
Now, I am not asking for any kind of forgiveness. I still do not agree with the current DUI laws. The fact that bac limits are increased in relation to the increased arrest rates. One could argue that fatalities are coming down because vehicles are safer - not because of stricter DUI law.
One out of 23 people in the US have a misdemeanor and a big chunk of them are DUI's.
I could say that my life has changed forever. Istill do not know how much it will change because the damage isn't done.