In my first post I promised to tell my DUI story. And while I’m tempted to procrastinate—or better yet, forget about the whole thing, as it’s a very bad memory for me—I will make good on my promise and deliver the goods here on Patch.
My hope is that in sharing my story, it may shed light on how easy it is to drink, become impaired, and then drive without thinking clearly about the consequences. My advice to you is that if you are going to drink, you should assume in advance that you will not be able to drive (even after just one drink) and simply prepare in advance for another way home. How difficult is that? Just don’t drive. Take a cab. Call on a designated driver. Just. Don’t. Drive. That’s how I handled it for years before I gave up drinking altogether.
I was a young and oh-so-cool 20-something PR professional handling a black-tie press event for my boss, Ted Turner, at the Natural History Museum in downtown L.A. the night it happened. I had just flown in from Atlanta, so I was
already three hours (and several cocktails on the plane) ahead of everyone
else. My stomach was empty—how else was I to squeeze into my tight little black dress? But that didn’t stop me from downing a few flutes of champagne as I escorted reporters through an exhibit on Turner’s classic movies.
After the successful event, my best friend-roommate-drinking buddy and I decided we should celebrate my triumph at a nightclub. Both of us had been drinking but somehow we managed to drive our separate cars to the club, where we drank more and danced. When we finally decided we should go home to our apartment in Manhattan Beach, we crawled to our cars, and—because this was the anything-goes 1980s—the valet drivers handed us our keys.
My roommate made it home without a hitch, but I wasn’t so fortunate. I got lost and drove around for hours until I ended up on Interstate-5 near Downey—which was when I was pulled over for erratic driving.
Yes, I was given a field sobriety test, which I failed. Yes, I was handcuffed and shoved into the back seat of the policeman’s car (and promptly threw up all over it). Yes, I was fingerprinted. Yes, I spent the night in jail. And yes, I it cost me many sleepless nights and about $10,000 in attorney, DUI school and court fees to pay for my terrifyingly irresponsible behavior. Yes, I am thankful today that the cops pulled me over before I hurt someone or myself. And finally, yes, I did learn my lesson. I never drank and drove after that…and a few years later, I sobered up
So that’s my story. Of course, my experience is more than two decades old, so does anyone with a more recent experience care to share?
For my next blog, I thought it would be helpful if we heard the latest on the DUI scene from an expert, so I will have a Q&A with Newport Beach attorney Walter Mitchell, whose firm, The Sterling Law Group, specializes in DUI cases. Stay tuned for that next week.