Posts Tagged ‘dui consequences’
One of the worse things about being convicted of Impaired Driving or a DUI, above and beyond the financial costs, is what seems at times like a total loss of freedom as far as traveling is concerned. Although folk who live in cities have access to public transportation, those of us who live in rural areas just do not have that same access and mobility can be hugely impaired. The small town I live in has virtually no public transportation to the cities and towns within an hour’s drive (well, there is one bus per day but it’s not convenient at all).
As a result, I’ve had to rely on the graciousness of others toward me. Perhaps one of the most humiliating things in my life was calling my mother, who lives an hour away, and asking her if she would come and get me and then take me to my Back On Track program assessment. I haven’t been in a vehicle with my mother where she was the driver for over 25 years.
One thing I have done quite a bit of in order to get back and forth to see my girlfriend especially is hitch hike. There are not many hitch hikers out these days, and I look like a strange anomaly on the road, with my thumb sticking out and my laptop bag beside me. Sometimes as well as my laptop bag, I have another small bag containing enough clothing to get me by for staying a few days where ever I am heading.
I am very grateful to the strangers that have stopped to pick me up. Thankfully, even though many are afraid of picking up hitch hikers, there are still some today who will stop and give a guy a ride. Some strangers have even gone further than that, which gives hope about the spirit of human compassion and help.
Let me tell you some of the stories I have:
I have had many people go out of their way for me while hitch hiking. The first time I had to hitch hike after the Impaired driving charge, it was the first time I had hitch hiked in probably 20 years. A fellow picked me up on the outskirts of town, and instead of dropping me off where he would normally turn off the highway to go home, he took me 5 miles further up the road to the corner where I had to change direction.
The second time I had to hitch hike, I was dropped off in the middle of a village at night that had virtually no traffic going through. I stood underneath the only street light in the village, after dark, with the mosquitoes drinking my blood. I was getting quite discouraged half an hour into my wait, with only a few cars having gone by – and everyone of them … just went by. Finally, a young man who manages a small restaurant, drove past, and then turned around. He asked me where I was heading and he told me he could get me half way there. I got into his car, and after we chatted, he decided to take me all the way to my final destination which was half an hour out of his way.
On another occasion, I was hitch hiking at the outskirts of another small town heading to a medium size city where my girlfriend lives. I was quite surprised when a Mercedes stopped, and the driver, a wealthy executive of a very successful business stopped and offered a ride. He went out of his way and drove me right to my final destination.
I have had this happen to me a number of times, actually.
About a month ago, I had to get back to my small town office, and left the medium size city I was in. Because of the time of day, the best way to get there by hitch hiking was to take a longer route along highways that had more traffic than the rural roads that although more direct, had virtually no traffic at night. However, even though they are highways, in my part of the world, there is still not that much traffic on the highways.
At one point I had stood waiting for almost two hours, when a family picked me up. The teenage son (about 19 years old) convinced his mother who was driving to stop and offer me a ride against the protestations of his girlfriend who thought I was probably some axe murderer. It was a very chilly night and I was not dressed for it, and while shivering, I got into their warm vehicle and couldn’t express enough my gratitude to them.
They were going my way for a short bit along the highway, and after they discussed it amongst themselves, made the decision that they were absolutely not going to drop me off at their turn off. Instead, they were going to take me to their home, make me coffee, and then arrange a ride with another friend from their home town to take me to the town that I lived at. It was an interesting experience – they lived with 18 cats and a dog. But their hospitality of warm coffee and the offer of bacon and eggs (which I declined at 2:00 in the morning but gratefully took the hot coffee) was incredible.
I am also very grateful to my brother who has gone out of his way a number of times to drive an hour to pick me up and get me to places I need to be at. He has not always been able to help due to his own schedule, but when he can, he has. My brother has, like the other night when it was pouring rain and the prospect of hitch hiking was simply not very palatable, dropped almost everything to drive an hour to come and pick me up and drive me another hour.
And as I wrote earlier, although humiliating to me in a way, my mother has been of help as well.
My brother-in-law has gone out of his way, especially when this first happened, and my brain was still in a fog and panic over the entire situation. He helped arrange to get my vehicle out of impoundment and provided me with encouragement that eventually, I’d get through this.
Finally, I owe the greatest amount of thanks and appreciation to my girlfriend. She has her own work schedule too, but when she is able, she has helped me out tremendously, and has ensured that I have been able to see my 8 year old son, pick him up, do things with him, and has been there for me. Naturally, she would prefer that I could do the driving, but she has just been simply wonderful and to her, I am also extremely grateful and thankful.
To those strangers who have helped and have gone out of their way: “Thank you. You’ve helped me to see that there is still a lot of the human spirit that wants to help and will help when you can.”
To my family, friends and especially my girlfriend: “Your help and assistance has meant the world to me, and I love you all even more than I did before. I have not always expressed my appreciation very well – perhaps partly because I hate to ask for help – partly because life goes on – but I want you to know just how much it has meant to me, and how much you mean to me.”
When I was sentenced and my conviction for impaired driving was registered, I was advised by my lawyer that I should apply immediately (that very day) for Ontario’s “Back On Track” program – the program that all convicted drivers of a DUI in Ontario must complete before they can apply for their license reinstatement.
You may have read that in Ontario, the Province recently instituted a new program where Ontario drivers who plead guilty within 90 days of Impaired Driving can apply for an early reinstatement of their license after just three months instead of having to wait an entire year. This came into effect on August 3, 2010. Neither the Judge or the Crown opposed me having the opportunity to make application for the early reinstatement of my license.
As soon as I returned home from Court, I applied on line for the Back On Track program, providing them my Visa number for the almost $600 program fee. However the next day, I received an email advising I needed to contact the Back On Track office to speak with a representative directly. When I called, I was advised that due to the new changes in the Ontario’s administration of Impaired Driving convictions, there was a “computer glitch” and there was no record of my conviction. Therefore, the Back On Track office could not process my application and I was told to wait another 10 days before applying again.
It was a bit disappointing as I had wanted to make sure I was in the system and get my “evaluation” done as soon as possible. The first part of the Back On Track program is an “evaluation” of one’s use of alcohol. After the evaluation, the program decides whether the convicted person needs either “alcohol education” and/or “alcohol treatment.”
Hopefully, I can get into this evaluation as soon as possible and start making the necessary adjustments including substantially increasing my income in order to pay for the much higher insurance premiums I will be facing if I can get my license reinstated in three months.
Of course, I will also have to have the “Ignition Interlock” installed in any vehicle I drive before I can get my license reinstated in Ontario, as well.
Do you enjoy the odd social drink and think you are ok to drive? Perhaps you should read this about my experience with a DUI.
It’s now been over a month since I was charged with impaired driving. It’s been tough. I can’t say I have not driven a vehicle in that time; I did drive my girlfriend’s car along some private property through a campground last week. It felt weird after not driving for three weeks.
This past weekend, my girlfriend and I had plans to go out of town to take in a gig by an up and coming rock and roll band. We’ve had those plans for quite awhile. And as mentioned previously, my girlfriend lives in a different town than I do, normally about an hour’s drive. She has been awesome to me, but I can’t expect her to be going out of her way every time we have plans. I had tried to get a ride to her place Friday evening, but was unable to.
So, I decided to get my weekend bag together and try using the thumb. I walked for two hours before someone stopped to pick me up. By that time, I was getting eaten by mosquitoes and was losing hope that I’d make it before morning! I had visions I’d be walking the entire 55 km distance, and it didn’t help that I had a bag with clothes as well as my needed laptop with me.
Two hours after I set out, and swatting mosquitoes buzzing my head, wishing that I had thought to buy a bottle of water before I left, finally someone picked me up. Bob was able to take me several miles down the rural road to the next town. During the drive, he told me that he once had his license suspended for 9 years! He was able to empathize with me and told me that he never drives past a hitch hiker, knowing what it’s like.
Where Bob dropped me off put me about 30 to 40 minutes away normally by car from my girlfriend’s place. But there wasn’t much traffic at 10PM and I wasn’t holding out much hope of getting another ride. I did have an advantage that I was able to stand right under the only lamp post in town and could be seen under the bright light. If I continued to walk, I’d be walking along the very dark road and risking no one seeing me until the last second. I decided to give the lamp post strategy a try even though there weren’t many cars passing through.
I didn’t have to wait too long though – about ten minutes when a manager of a medium size restaurant in my town stopped to give me a lift. Peter was awesome! He lives about 15 minutes out of his way from my girlfriend’s place, and decided that he would give me a ride all the way to my destination. I was extremely grateful to him and was glad to have met him. I’ll have to drop by his restaurant soon and give him a large tip!
All in all, it took me over three hours to get to my girlfriend’s place – normally a drive just under an hour. But I made it, sore leg muscles and all, and we were able to carry through with our plans for Saturday night. Thankfully I did not have to hitch hike back on Sunday as my girlfriend drove me back. Today however, I see more walking in my future as I need to get to some appointments later today.
Drinking and driving and being charged with impaired (dui) is not fun and the risk is not worth it.