Monday, December 30, 2013

How I Went from Being Arrested for DUI to Being the Designated Driver in a Span of Two Hours

I've noticed something funny recently and I'm not being critical. Many years ago "Kissing Suzy Kolber" threatened to post pictures of Peter King's children on their site if he didn't stop talking about them in MMQB. Now, Big Daddy Drew (Drew Magary) is writing books about his children. I notice these things and they are neither good or bad. So at a certain point during success writers find (or believe) that their audience is interested in them as people. It's a tough balance. Good stories or lessons can be mined from a person's personal life, while if you do too much personal life writing then you end up like Rick Reilly at some point. That's bad.

That's why I started this separate blog from BotB. It gives options to those who still like my style of writing or want to hear boring/interesting/funny/disturbing stories from time-to-time. I like telling stories, though usually they are over a few beers, so I figure I would tell a good one today about beer. It's about me (almost) getting a DUI. Yes, it is hilarity about a DUI, and no, DUI's are not funny. The situation was funny in retrospect, especially since after I was arrested and when released the police officer demanded I be the designated driver for my friends. It's a serious life lesson, but a pretty funny one as to how it went down. If you think less of me after hearing the story, I do understand. There are certain turning points in a person's life and this was one of my turning points. Turning points aren't always the most uplifting stories.

So in May of 2002 I was still in college and was an idiot. I went to school in a small college town so the bars usually weren't far from where I live so sad to say, my friends and I didn't plan a cab ride or exactly who would drive prior to going out on the town drinking. Usually the next day started with me searching the parking lot of my apartment for my car trying to remember how I got home. It's not glorious, it was the state of affairs. Someone driving home drunk or pretty drunk was how I got home many times and there is a list a mile long of things I deserved for taking part in such irresponsible actions. My friends and I had a designated driver, a 19 year old friend of ours who would get drunk before going out to the bar and then sobered up by the time we got back from the bar. It didn't always work out that she was around though.

What's weird is that from the time I could drink in May of 2001 until the very next year I never once thought, "There could be serious issues for me if I get caught driving home from Concord, NC semi-drunk or drive home even a mile down the road after hitting the college bars." I thought about it, but more as a "I'm probably not going to get caught and there will be no ramifications for this decision"-type thing. The fact nothing ever happened to me or I didn't kill myself/someone else was very fortunate. The more my friends and I drove in a non-legal fashion like this, the more it empowered us that we could do it. I was even more enpowered after one drive home in the summer of 2001. One time I went to Charlotte to watch a movie and have dinner with a friend. One beer turned to way more than one beer and then it turned into the the fact we were going to see "Scary Movie 2" very drunk. It was a grand time. After the movie, I drove home and most likely over the legal limit and it turns out there was a DUI checkpoint at the exit I was supposed to get off on. Bad luck, but deserved, right?

So I pull up to the police officer who is "checking licenses" (i.e. checking to see how many drunk people he can catch by giving himself the probable cause to stop my car he otherwise would not have had) and hand him my license. Now mind you, "Scary Movie 2" was not a long movie and I was still pretty tipsy. I was wearing an Atlanta Braves hat low-ish on my head and smoking a cigarette. Yes, I didn't put my cigarette out to speak with the police officer. Why would I? That would show a concern for my situation and a respect for the authority of the police officer. I had just lit the cigarette up though, so there's no sense in wasting a perfectly good cigarette (Yes, I used to smoke, and yes I run. Yes, I used to run three miles and then light up a cigarette on the way to the car. Yes, I threw up in the parking lot one time after doing this). I was basically a DUI commercial waiting to happen. We talked about the Braves prospects to win the World Series for 10 seconds as he searched my car not-so-covertly with a flashlight, handed me my license, I explained to him I was coming back from watching a movie in Concord and then I drove off. Lucky me...or unlucky me that my evetual wake-up call didn't come in a town where my family didn't know a lot of attorneys, I knew the county police chief fairly well, and my dad didn't know the city police chief very well. If the following story had happened in my hometown it would have been no less embarrassing, but I would have probably been less nervous because I had more connections in my hometown. So actually, it probably was a good thing I got the shit scared out of me in Boone, North Carolina because it taught me (and my friends) a very important lesson. You know sometimes your purpose in life is to serve as an example to others? That's me. I'm the example.

My point of that non-funny story is that I was brazened by the fact I thought I was good at acting non-drunk. I took a International Economics exam one time still drunk from Halloween the night before. I definitely lacked maturity in the whole area of "Do people know I'm drunk?" awareness. I got a B on that exam, which of course only further brazened me to believe drunk or sober I'm smarter than most others either way. So fast forward back to May 2002 and my friends and I are going out to a bar to celebrate the last day of exams. The night started innocently enough. I convinced my roommate who never went out anymore to go out to the bar with me and we would be meeting five other friends at the bar to share a couple pitchers of beer. I was the designated driver, which meant I wasn't going to get very drunk (but yes, I would be drinking), and would be responsible for shuttling people back to their homes at the end of the night. No big deal. We get to the bar, have a couple of pitchers of beer, and then my roommate announces I need to take him home. Well, I have had a few beers and wasn't planning on stopping drinking quite yet. I figured we would close the bar down and I would be sober enough to drive home in a bit. I disagree that he is leaving and he disagrees with me disagreeing with him leaving. The conversation (and our first argument...ever) went like this:

(Me) "No. We are staying for at least another hour."

(Him) "I'm leaving, you can stay. Give me the keys to your car."

(Me) "No, I am driving my car because you are in no shape to be driving, much less driving my damn car."

(Him) "Give me your keys. I'll come get you guys when you call me."

(Me) "You will be asleep as soon as you get back and then we will be stranded. Fuck that, let's go (I start fast-walking out to my car with my keys)."

(We approach my car and he says) "You are being a pussy about this. Let me drive the fucking car home and I will come get you later."

(I throw my keys on the ground and say) "No way, I'm driving and when I get a DUI I will be sure to tell you all about. I'll wake you up and tell you about how your insistence on going home at 11:30pm got me a DUI (clearly the fact it was my idea to drive him home didn't stop me from blaming him for my decision)."

So we drove home angry and I dropped him off. After leaving our apartment to go back to the bar I got a really weird feeling something wasn't right. I thought at the time it was the fact we had gotten in a fight over something silly, but I was REALLY nervous driving back to the bar. I wasn't sloppy drunk, but I also should not have been driving a car at that point. I make it all the way to the road that the bar is on, about a half mile away from the bar...and let's play a game and decide what I do at this point:

A. I keep my eye on the rearview mirror and think I just have a few more feet to go before I can get out of my car. Just hold steady and keep driving.

B. I stop the car on the side of the road and call a cab to take me the rest of the way.

C. I decide in the next 30 seconds I will be in the car I need to listen to new music and decide to change out the CD.

Guess what? I chose C. Sure, I'm going to be in the car for 30 more seconds, but I NEED NEW MUSIC DAMMIT! So I pull a CD out and it drops on the floor. At this point, I am approaching the last curve of the road before the bar comes up on the left so what I do I decide to do?:

A. Let the CD go and keep driving while listening to the radio.

B. I stop the car on the side of the road and call a cab or walk the rest of the way.

C. I need to pick up this fucking CD immediately.

I chose C. I leaned over to pick up the CD and my car drifts over the double yellow line briefly. I grab the CD and then gently (and I did gently do this) put the car entirely on the right side of the double yellow line. I barely even knew I had crossed the double yellow line. I see blue lights flash in my rearview mirror and I know that's not something I want to see. So I pull into the parking lot of the bar I am trying to go back to. Yes, I was AT THE BAR when I got pulled over on this huge incline. To call this incline on the way into the bar huge would be an understatement. It was at a pretty steep angle and I already had my game plan prepared for the road sobriety tests I knew I was about to take.

Quick aside: I was friends with a lot of guys who were Criminal Justice majors looking to go into law enforcement. A lot. So at parties I had drunkenly taken most field tests as administered by amateur police officers and felt pretty good about taking them drunk. Again, I'm a brazen asshole. I know this. So upon knowing I would have to take these field tests I wasn't worried. I figured if I could get to even ground I would at least show the cops I was in the parking lot of the bar where my friends are and I am trustworthy enough to walk in the door and not drink anymore. Unfortunately, if getting pulled for DUI was "Double Dare" then I was well-prepared to take the physical challenge part of the game, but I didn't realize I had not been quizzed on the question-and-answer portion of the sobriety field test. That's the part that failed me.

So I stop by car and wait for the policeman to walk up to my door. He does get to my door and then asks the general question we all get asked when we get pulled over, except it sounded like it came from the voice of Darth Vader, not a Boone policeman.

"Do you know why I stopped you?"

I was in a full blown panic at this point because I knew at this moment this wasn't a DUI checkpoint and I had been pulled for cause and I had never been pulled for anything. Nothing. Not a ticket. Not a tail light out. Nothing. This is my first time ever speaking to a policeman where I was obviously suspected of doing something wrong and not just a guy in a car. The question fucked me up. It was like he asked me,

"Explain every action you have ever taken and how it impacts who you are as a person."

I was mind-fucked. I was in a panic and it wasn't stopping. I rarely panic, but once I start panicking I usually don't get my bearings quickly. I wasn't being cool under pressure and I was realizing we wouldn't move wordlessly to a safe, level area where he would marvel at my ability to perform the field sobriety tests and then videotape me to show how his fellow officers how adept I was at passing field sobriety tests. He wanted me to talk to him and I (believe it or not) didn't expect this. I guess I expected us to play an extended game of charades where he would motion me to perform the field sobriety tests and he wouldn't want a question-and-answer session with me.

I told him I thought I might have gone across the double yellow line briefly and that's why I am guessing he stopped me. It went something like this:

(Me) "I dropped my CD and foolishly decided to pick it up. I drifted a bit. Is that why?"

(Cop) "Sir, can you remove your hat?"

(Me) "My hat? No, it was a CD that fell on the floor. It had nothing to do with my hat (again, I wasn't being smart with him, but I was panicking and wanted him to know the full story) falling."

(Cop) "Take the hat off (I took it off and put it on the seat beside me). Where were you coming from? Have you been drinking?"

(Me) "Yes, I have been drinking. I am the designated driver and I just got back from taking my roommate home. He is a Criminal Justice major ('he's just like you!') and couldn't afford to get a DUI so I drove him home (because see, I CAN afford to get a DUI)."

(Cop in the Darth Vader voice again) "How much did you have to drink tonight?"*

*I gave what may be the worst response ever given to a police officer. Ever. I started off lying to him because I didn't know the answer, then went back to what I thought may be the truth, and then told him the real truth.

(Me) "I had one beer, I think (I'm an expert liar)."

(Cop) "Why are you lying?"

(Me) "Maybe I had two beers or possibly three beers. I don't know how much I have had because we had a pitcher and my drink kept getting filled up, so I don't have an accurate count. I do know I feel fine to drive though."*

*Oh, you feel fine to drive. Well then, case closed. Let's move on and you are free to go.

(Cop) "We are going to run through some tests. Can you say your alphabet please?"

At this point, what do you think I did? Did I:

A. Say my alphabet as any 3.40 student majoring in Economics would be able to do?

B. Ask for an attorney and then run into the bar? 

C. Offer to blow into a field Breathalyzer?

D. Say my alphabet and SCREW MY DAMN ALPHABET UP?

I did C...then when I was told there wasn't a need for that I said my alphabet and skipped the letter "Q." Yes, I screwed up the alphabet, because why not? No, I wasn't asked to do the alphabet backwards, but forwards, and I messed it up. Like any good student I offered to do it again, because you know, maybe he is grading on a curve.

(Cop smiles and says) "Can you give your hat to me please and then step out of the car?"

(Me) "Can I leave my hat in the car?"*

*It's funny what you latch onto. I loved my Braves hat and let no one but me wear it. I wore it everywhere and at this point I wanted that hat IN MY CAR and not with the policeman. I'm about to perform field sobriety tests after failing to say my alphabet correctly and I am worried about where my hat may go. Trust me, my latching onto the hat doesn't end here. It's my Wilson (of "Cast Away" fame) during this entire adventure. I probably will skip over times I asked for my hat or was concerned about my hat. The Braves hat = life.

(Cop) "No, I want it. Please give it to me."

(I gave him my hat and stepped out of the car...fortunately I was not smoking a cigarette at this point, so maybe I had learned something from running into a DUI checkpoint the previous summer)

(Cop) "Stand here then and stand on one leg while trying to touch your nose with your opposite hand."*

*This may have been his directions, I'm not sure. I was like a pitcher who had just given up back-to-back-to-back home runs and there is no one warming up in the bullpen. I need to be pulled from the game immediately, but it isn't happening.

(Me) "Can I go to the level ground because I don't feel like this will accurately represent my ability to balance right now. I have terrible balance."*

*At the time I didn't realize through the chain of events of lying about how much I had to drink, not wanting to give up my hat and now dictating the terms of the sobriety test I was antagonizing the cop. Sadly, I didn't think about this at the time. Again, these are things you learn from.

(Cop) "I think it's fine to do it here."

(I stand on one leg while touching my nose for maybe two seconds and then can't stand much longer)

(Cop) "Now follow this light with your eyes."

(Me losing my mind completely...I would have been better off calling him a pig and insinuating I slept with his wife then what I said next...say) "Well, this test isn't admissible in court anyway, but I'll do it."*

**I'll do it! See how nice I was being? You can't arrest a guy who does what the police tell him to do can you? I am now dictating the field sobriety tests and telling the police officer even though I know he can't use this in court, I will humor him. I also realize I am not coming off well here. So be it. I was insanely nervous and desperately trying to grab a hold of the situation like the control freak I am. Dammit, I needed control and was failing. I was also failing at doing anything to help my case to not end up in handcuffs shortly.

(Cop) "Just do it."

(I follow the light and probably failed this as well because my eyes are usually a little red)

(Cop) "Now, close your eyes and touch your nose with your fingers."

(Me) "Can I please go do this over on level ground?"

(Cop) "We're almost done, so just hang here."

(I perfectly touch my fingers on my nose as I expected I would. Always choose the physical challenge, that's the rule...if I had just been briefed about the question-and-answer session things could have gone differently)

(The cop goes back to his car and a Sheriff's car pulls up. Being the intuitive person I am, I took this as a not-good sign. At least I was right about something on this night. It wasn't a good sign.)

(The cop talks to the sheriff's deputy, then walks back to me and handcuffs me) "Sir, you are under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol..."*

*I don't remember the rest, I just know I got handcuffed and it was a terrible, terrible feeling. He could have offered me a chance to run away during his speech if I said the magic word and I wouldn't have known. I wasn't listening and was thinking about how I would explain this to my parents.

Then the cop put me in his car, with the passenger window down, and the sheriff's deputy comes by and starts talking to me. To this day I won't forget what he said, because well, fuck this guy. I was clearly a scared college kid (granted, who also happened to be under arrest for a fairly major vehicular crime) and he antagonized me. Yes, I was in the wrong, but the amount of antagonism for how much my head was hanging always seemed disproportionate to me. I clearly wasn't being aggressive.

(Sheriff's deputy) "You been doing some drinking tonight?"

(Me) "Yes, it seems that way. Can I please take a breathalyzer or can you please go into the bar and tell my friends they will have to find a cab home. I am their ride. They are going to be worried about me when I don't answer my cell phone and they are going to drive home at the end of the night. Please allow me to call one of them to come out here and explain the situation."

(Sheriff's deputy laughs) "They'll get the message when you don't show up to get them."

(Me) "Okay, that's fine. They are going to be worried."

(Sheriff's deputy) "Maybe they'll come visit you in jail tomorrow to get you out."

(Me getting irritated) "If they don't know I am there, they probably won't know how to find me."

(Sheriff's deputy laughs again) "Enjoy your night and your lesson. Hopefully your friends won't make the same mistake."

(Me talking to him as he walks away) "But they are going to drive if they don't know to get a cab and can't get a hold of me."*

*At this point, in my "Star Wars" analogy if the cop was Darth Vader then this sheriff's deputy was the Emperor telling me my weakness was I had too much faith in my friends. And yes, Luke Skywalker was a good guy and I was the bad guy in this situation. I get it. I also got the Sheriff's deputy's car number implanted in my brain for future reference. I didn't like his attitude.

So the cop got back in the car and I again pleaded with him to allow me to call my friends and leave a voice message as to where I am or give me a field breathalyzer. He declined because he is good at his job and I was just some drunk guy. On the way back I asked the police officer a series of questions and got the following answers:

-Yes, I am officially under arrest.

-No, I won't be able to get bailed out of jail that night. I will have to be in the drunk tank and wait until morning.

-No, I can't have my Braves hat with me in the drunk tank.

-No, I really can't have the Braves hat to use as a pillow in the drunk tank.*

*Even to this day I don't regret wanting my Braves hat. It was my only Braves hat and I was very unclear on how I would retrieve it. Would I get it in a box after I left the drunk tank the next morning like I see in movies? Would I never get it back and then one day see a person wearing That hat became my binky and I wanted my hat. At the time, it was very important to control something, anything.

Then I said,

"My dad is going to kill me."

The cop got agitated and looked at me angrily saying,

"Who is your dad? What does he do?"

I told the cop my dad wasn't anyone special (to him) and he would just be mad at me. To this day, his agitated reaction surprises me. I guess a lot of kids drop their parent's name for effect. I was much too worried about the status of my Braves hat to name drop.

We got to the jail and I took all of my belongings out of my pocket to take the breathalyzer. I ask the policeman if I can please go pee before I take the breathalyzer. He agrees and takes me to the restroom, taking my handcuffs off so I can open my fly. I pee and it was a fantastic feeling since I figured I would be in a drunk tank in about 10 more minutes.

So now the time had come. I was going to take the breathalyzer to see how drunk I was and I really believed I was drunk. Actually I KNEW I should not have been driving. If I had not mentioned it before, I was fucked, and knew it. The legal limit in North Carolina is 0.08, which is probably too high, but that's the legal limit. My Braves hat was in front of me, my phone said I had missed 17 phone calls in the last hour, and now I was going to see how long I was losing my license for. It's going to be hard to go to law school four hours away from home in the middle of nowhere without a license to drive around. I deserved it all and it wasn't a good feeling. So the cop and I sat down at the breathalyzer.

This is what happened next,

(Cop) "Blow gently into the breathalyzer, please."

I lean forward and blow gently into the breathalyzer wondering if I am going to lose my license for a year, two years, or if I could get a good attorney to at least allow me to keep my license while paying a hefty fine. All of this is ricocheting in my mind that I don't notice what the breathalyzer says. It says 0.07.

(Me) "What the hell?"*

*Yes, I said that. I failed three out of four sobriety tests and knew I couldn't drive, so I didn't expect it to come to under 0.08. I was simply asking for the field breathalyzer back at the bar in the hopes the beer I had just drank 30 minutes before would not hit my bloodstream yet. I figured the longer I waited to take a breathalyzer, the better the chance of a higher test result. While I was busy fucking up the alphabet I had a plan to minimize my breathalyzer result. It's like I was a general in the army and had the perfect plan of action on how to attack the enemy, but forgot to bring the guns to attack the enemy with.

(Cop look stunned) "Blow again, please. Do it a little more forcefully."

I blew a 0.07 again.

(Cop looking at my phone as it rings for the 18th missed call, he's clearly getting pissed off at me and his bad fortune to not have busted me for drunk driving) "One more time."

I blew a 0.07 again. At this point, I am about to break the handcuffs off with pure joy. I had dodged a bullet and knew it. Life began again. I had no idea what would happen next, but I knew I was below the legal limit. DUI was off the table. So the cop then informed me he was writing me up for going left of center, which apparently isn't as strict of a violation as getting a DUI, but does carry quite a few points on your insurance. My parents would be less than thrilled about this obviously.

I ask him what "left of center" means and he explained it to me. It was a very complicated term and it meant I went left of the yellow center line while driving. Again, it was a very complicated term. At this point, the cop takes the handcuffs off me and he gives me the ticket (I think...everything is a blur because I was so happy I wasn't going to spend a night in jail). I ended up getting a ticket, I saw a magistrate, there may have been a polar bear playing checkers in the corner...who knows? I wasn't paying attention because I had just dodged a bullet. Then the cop and I walk out to his police car and he begins to drive me back to the bar where he had originally pulled me over. On the way back, we had a conversation that went something like this,

(Me) "Once I get back to the bar, how do you propose I get home? I certainly don't want to drive."

(Cop) "I want to go back to the bar and drive all of your friends home at the end of the night. They are still there drinking, right?"

(Me laughing softly) "Well, I think so. I know I missed a few calls from them, so I don't know exactly where they are right now."

(Cop) "They had better hope they aren't driving."

(I was thinking that I could have avoided them driving if he had simply allowed me to tell them where I was at and that they need to call a cab) "Okay, I hope so too. Can I ask you a question and I'm not being funny..."

(Cop) "Yep, go for it."

(Me) "If I drive my car, are you going to pull me over on my way home or are you fine with me being the designated driver for my friends?"

(Cop laughs...I'm just kidding, he didn't laugh because he was humorless and I thought hated me because he had just spent an hour on an arrest he would never get to make) "I am requesting you do so."

(Me) "Sounds good." (Secretly, I couldn't wait to tell the story of how I got arrested for DUI and then the cop asked that I drive all my friends home)

So we had boring banter (even more boring than this story) after that and he dropped me off at the bar. I moved my car to a parking space. Yes, my car was just sitting at the entrance to the parking lot. If I had spent the night in jail I'm assuming it would have been towed or just sat there...who knows? Then I walk into the bar and my friends are very, very drunk. I go over to their table and they act like I had been gone for years. They ask where I had been and I slapped the left of center ticket down on the table, showed them the mark from the handcuffs, poured myself a beer (just for effect mind you...fine, I did have a couple sips) and said "I got taken into the police station under suspicion of DUI after taking Matt home."

(Friend) "Where did you get pulled over?"

(Me pointing outside the bar) "Right, motherfucking there. I almost made it." 

(Friend) "You should have jumped out of your car and run in here."

(Me) "Trust me, that did cross my mind."

Of course they didn't believe me at first, except I'm a wiggly person and did have handcuffs on my wrist, plus I still looked pale and they probably figured I wasn't lying after I told the story. It also helps I don't lie. Reality is so much crazier than a lie many times anyway. After I told them what I blew on the breathalyzer my friend pointed at me and said "I'm calling you 007 from now on. 007!" Then he proceeded to give me a high-five and that nickname stuck for no one else but him for the next few years. Though ironically he got pulled after leaving a bar in 2004 under suspicion of DUI and he blew a 0.07 on the breathalyzer. The "007" nickname sort of got dropped by him after that. See, reality is so much more crazy than a lie.

So I drove everyone home and then we all went up to my apartment and we woke up my roommate up (I KNEW he would be asleep. I was right) by turning the light on quickly, which in retrospect wasn't a great decision because had did have a gun he stowed under his bed. You just don't want to startle a guy with a gun under his bed, even if it isn't loaded. He thought I was completely kidding when I told him I got taken to the police station, even after I showed him the cuff marks on my wrist, and even quizzed me the next day on whether I was lying. He was eventually convinced by logic. I really enjoyed going out and drinking, so would I really leave all my friends at a bar for an hour and a half on the last day of classes to pull a prank? No, I would not. I would go where the friends and beer went. Plus, I did have that "left of center" ticket.

I tell this story so much better in person, but I've always enjoyed how I went from being arrested under suspicion of DUI to being a designated driver in a span of two hours. To this day, I will not drive a car if I have had more than two drinks and I will not get in the car with a person I feel has had too much to drink. Someday I will probably tell my kids this story and I will be embarrassed by it, but it's good to serve as an example others can't follow I guess. I'm not a walking PSA or anything like that, but a dropped CD is what ultimately put me in the position to be in handcuffs. Well, that and not knowing the alphabet. Eventually the "left of center" violation was removed from my license and my parent's car insurance did not go up. It cost more money than I would have liked in court appearances for the attorney to get this done, but it did get done. It also helped the police officer told the judge I was cooperative and polite. Yeah, I wasn't very cooperative and polite in my opinion.

Two denouncements to this story. First, I forever disliked that sheriff's deputy for the way he seemed to taunt me in the car. Yes, I may have deserved it, but I was pretty contrite at the time and wasn't being hostile. I felt his words towards me were a little too taunting as compared to my behavior. I have friends who disagreed and said I deserved a little taunting. Perhaps. Well, I remembered his car number and during the Summer of 2002 I found his empty sheriff's car outside of a restaurant while walking home from a bar. I took the liberty of watering his back tire for him. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have done this. Maturity isn't something that comes overnight I guess. But hey, I'm sure he is still haunted to this day by the smell of urine on the back tire of his police car (if he was even driving that same car at that point).

Second, I was on my way home from attending a football game at my undergraduate alma mater going back to my grad school when I got pulled over for doing 53 mph in a 35 mph zone. It was a speed trap and I got caught in it. When the police officer came to my window he asked why I was going so fast. I told him I just didn't slow down fast enough when it went from 55 mph to 35 mph and left it at that. Then he asked for my license and registration, so I pulled my glovebox open.

Out spilled six or seven airplane bottles that I had purchased that weekend and was saving for the next football game. When they fell to the floor of my car I yelled, "Son of a bitch! Seriously?" Then I quickly told the cop that I had not been drinking nor was I drunk and at that point probably became the first person to ever voluntarily subject himself to a breathalyzer test at 4:30pm on a Sunday when there was never even a question posed by the police officer whether that person had been drinking or not. The cop declined and actually laughed at my reaction. I was obviously still scarred from my DUI adventure a few summers before. He took my license and registration and went back to his car. After about three minutes he came back to my car, chuckled again, and said "You have an absolutely clean driving record, you just have to learn to slow down there. Also, keep the airplane bottles somewhere other than the glove compartment. It looks bad." I told him "thanks" and drove on. I like to pretend my lack of poise got me out of that ticket.

I have friends who have gotten a DUI in their lifetime and feel very fortunate I narrowly avoided being one of those people. At 21 years old, you aren't always thinking straight. That's never an excuse, but to this day I get nervous if I had 1-2 drinks and I pass a police car. Sometimes the best lesson is to get scared straight.


  1. I don't think it's luck that kept you from being arrested. It’s your honesty regarding what happened that night. If you chose to keep on lying, you definitely wouldn't make it. It’s good to hear that you’re now taking it as one of the anecdotes that happened during your college years; and that it taught you a lot.

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  3. All I can say is that you were very close to it. Getting yourself arrested for DUI is never a fun experience, what more if you spend a night in the jail. It’s a good thing that you did not reach the limit. Otherwise, it could’ve been worse. Take care!

    Norma Richards @ Just Bail Bonds

  4. That’s true. An arrest for DUI is not a laughing matter. It can lead to a serious offense once you're found guilty. It’s a good thing that even you’re scared, you still managed to tell them the truth and proved yourself right. This may be a scary experience, but it served as a good lesson. Thanks for sharing!

    Kim E. Hunter

  5. We need to spread as much awareness as we can about safety issues like distracted driving. Though the penalties even for a first time DUI conviction are serious and can be life altering for the person who faces court with or without a prior case. Thus, choose right DUI lawyer. My brother works with a DUI lawyer and tells me that this can impact outcome of case to a great extent.

  6. Glad you managed to get out of serious trouble. You were truly very lucky as I did not have that kind of luck and got a DUI and it cost me my job, unfortunately. In retrospect, I learned a lot from that experience and it has taught me a valuable life lesson. Thanks for sharing the story and keep writing your great blogs.