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You convinced yourself you were OK to drive or you simply thought you wouldn’t get caught. You were not OK and you got caught. Getting a DUI / DWI can be life altering, but you can move forward and reclaim your life. It’s up to you to get yourself back on track. You’ll have a lot of consequences and to do list items to deal with, and it’s important that you don’t give up.
Getting arrested for a DUI comes with a range of immediate and long-term consequences. You should mentally prepare yourself for license suspensions, court dates, sentencing, and possibly even jail time. Be ready to fulfill the requirements you are given, and remember that completing any programs and requirements means you’re heading in the right direction to getting your life back. You may also want to seek professional mental help especially if your drunk driving incident led to injury or death for someone else, it’s important that you admit your mistake and seek help from a counselor or support group.
You may also have to deal with many financial consequences including court and ALEA / DPS fines and fees, ignition interlock device installation and service, higher car insurance (and possibly even finding a new company if yours ends coverage), lawyer fees and legal expenses, alcohol class or drug court fees, time away from work for appointments (if you’re lucky enough to still have your job), and other expenses. Now is the time to save as much as you can to be prepared. You may consider the possibility of working overtime or getting a second job, selling items you don’t really need, and cutting living expenses as much as possible.
Something you may not realize is how many times you’re asked “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” and similar questions on things like job and housing applications. It may be tempting to lie or partially exclude the truth. But being honest about your past is the best way to move forward. If you’re applying for a job that depends on your ability to drive, you’ll probably have trouble getting that job and may need to find other employment avenues. But if you’re applying for a job that doesn’t depend on your ability to drive, many employers will not exclude you from consideration – unless they find out that you lied to get the job. You should also be honest with yourself. Was this drunk driving incident a one-time thing that you’ll have no problem avoiding next time the temptation comes up? Or do you have a drinking problem? Being honest with yourself will be important to get you the help and support you need to move forward.
You must accept your situation and the consequences that come with it. You must admit your mistakes and be prepared to handle it very differently next time you’re faced with the temptation to drink and drive. But you shouldn’t linger in this dark place for too long. Try to stay positive and find ways you can improve your own situation and even to help others facing similar issues. You’ve got this! And we’re here to help in your journey.
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