DRINKING AND DRIVING = OVER THE LIMIT

DRINKING AND DRIVING=OVER THE LIMITby Don Livingston © 2001

I had waited for my trial for five months. During that time, I reported to a pre-trial service office each week, either by telephone, or in person to take a urinalysis.

I had hired an Attorney for $3,500, lost my drivers license for three months, and was put on a restricted driving permit for that duration. I had to purchase an SR-22 insurance policy during that time which cost a total of $300.00. I had my car impounded – cost to get it out, $120.00 with a certified letter to show ownership. I paid $400.00 dollars to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get my license re-instated.

When my trial was finally over, I was placed on six months probation, fined over $1,047, had to take awareness classes for $60.00 each, pay $20.00 for the monthly urinalysis, $40.00 for some “special fund”, perform forty hours of community service(I bought that off for $200.00 dollars). I can’t leave town or leave the state, and must refrain from the consumption of any form of alcoholic beverage, as well as any drug. I can not be around any firearm, and have to sustain from any arrest. Failure to comply with any of the above, and I could spend from three to six months in jail. All in all, this horror will last for almost a year, but maybe I’ve jumped to far ahead. Let me take you back to the beginning.

Probably the most humiliating experience in my life happened late one Saturday night, March 24, 2001, coming from the downtown area of San Antonio .

I had only consumed 6-7 glasses of wine, but to the patrolman that pulled me over on Hwy. 281, it was 6-7 glasses of wine was to much!!

Simple sobriety tests could not be done properly, mostly because of nervousness, but needless to say I was handcuffed for the first time in my life, watched my car being towed off to who knows where, and then put in the patrol car and taken to The Metropolitan Facility, the first time in any kind of jail for me, where close to eighty of the most pathetic people I had ever seen, including myself, were aimlessly staring into space. The time was 12:30 A.M., Sunday morning.

Humiliation is an understatement. Rights are read, you surrender all of your personal belongings, take the breath-a-lizer, and instantly you realize you are no longer in charge of your life, or destiny any longer.

This just could not be happening to me , but it WAS, and I would have twenty-six hours eventually, to think about it!!

At 7:30 A.M. Sunday morning, the first “shipment” of incarcerated individuals were starting to be moved to The Bexar County Jail. This was somewhat of a shock being told earlier by the patrolman that brought me in I would “probably be out no later than 8:00 A.M.” I WAS from The Metropolitan Facility, but a new “incarcerated adventure” lay in store.

In a handcuffed chain we departed the van and into an area controlled by Sheriff Deputies, or some special appointed squad dressed all in BLACK! “Shut up, face the wall, take your shoes and socks off…you are now “Inmates “of The Bexar County Jail.” As the shackles were applied to my ankles, the glasses of wine consumed a few hours earlier became ever embedded in my brain.

Time, 9:30 A.M. Sunday morning, another inventory of my personal belongings were taken as they were being transferred to The Bexar County Jail. Another command to “shut up and face the wall “Inmates” was commanded by the MEN IN BLACK.

I guess there is a reason, but kindness, understanding, compassion, and caring elements were replaced by rude, caustic, arrogant, and defensive attitudes directed to all “Inmates” taking their confidence and pride to a new low level of society. One had no control. Really, for the first time in my life, I became scared.

10:30 A.M.. Finger printing and “go sit in room six”. At 11:30 A.M., my “mug shot” was taken, and a computer generated picture of my finger prints taken. I was now a criminal, no better than the lowest scum on earth. A DUI, and this? I couldn’t believe what was happening!!

Back to room six. At one time , there were fifteen people crowded in this room. For two and one half hours we stood or sat there. “Inmate” Joe said, “They’re waiting to take you to orientation”. I said, “What do you mean orientation”? He said, “you will be issued jail clothes, and taken upstairs”. I said “No, I’m leaving here. I only got a DWI.”.

Well, we were herded down the hallway following the yellow line to the dressing room where we were again told to “shut up”and listen to instructions. “Hook your shoes together with the binding, put them at the bottom of your clothes bag, and hang everything else on the hanger. Understand, “Inmates”? There was that word again ,“ Inmate“- along with a Student, a Cook, a Dope Dealer, a Thief , and other DUI violators.

When one puts on the required “jail uniform”-T-shirt, boxers, socks, orange pants, orange shirt, and orange slippers, reality hits, and you ARE one of the “Inmates” of The Bexar County Jail!!

At 4:30 P.M., Sunday afternoon, we were told to stand on an “X” at the end of another yellow line to talk to the Personal Bond person. I was told to go to the second floor, Room C, Block C.

Time, 5:30 P.M. Sunday afternoon. I was met by a Guard who was very abrupt telling me I had been assigned to room “42”, that he opened the doors every hour on the hour, and to go put my assigned bed roll in the room. I went to room “42” where I was greeted by my “Roommate”. He was nineteen years old, and in jail for failure to pay outstanding tickets.He had chose to “work” his time off in jail, as he had no money to pay the fines.

In the main room of this block, there were about forty men watching basketball on TV. Everyone in this room seemed like very average people who had also gone through the intimidation, the rudeness, and the coarseness of the experience, and you felt a little closer to everyone.

At 9:30 P.M. Sunday night we got the signal to go to our rooms.

I dozed off, and at 11:30 P.M. Sunday night, a voice came on in a loud speaker in the room asking "Livingston, do you wanna go home”?

I walked out a “free” man at 1:30 A.M. Monday morning…Twenty-six hours later. Lost time, lost freedom, and now a total re-doing of my life’s existence on this planet, and all because I thought that I would never get caught.

It is now March, 2002. My probation is over. The probation officer was very understanding, and did not make me feel like I was a wart on society. I lost count of the hours I have spent driving, waiting, sitting, and standing(for you know what) during this whole ordeal. I haven’t had anything to drink since the night I was arrested, not because I couldn’t (I would have broken one of the “don’t rules” of my probation), but because I chose not to.

I have been informed by my Insurance Company that the carrier has dropped my policy of almost twenty years, and that my rates will increase with a new carrier from $118.00 a month to $209.00 a month.

The awareness classes taken did not try to make me stop drinking, but to drink responsively, and for God’s sake, DON’T DRIVE IF YOU DO DRINK!!

Truthfully…., I still miss a glass of wine with my meal, or a “social” glass of wine or two when out, but the impact of the past year is forever imbedded in my brain, and I can never allow myself to be put in the above situation ever again for the rest of my life.

Oh, a fact I might mention. This DUI, aside from the humiliation and embarrassment, cost $5,700. The number of glasses of wine consumed that night was approximately seven. If divided into the total cost, each drink cost $814.29….so just remember that “DRINKING AND DRIVING = OVER THE LIMIT”, not only in consumption, but financially as well.

It is now September, 2008, SEVEN years plus later, and I’m STILL not drinking. So you see, the experience did work.

DRINKING AND DRIVING = OVER THE LIMIT

donllivi

San Antonio, United States

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Artist's Description

Ever had a DUI for drinking $814.29 glasses of wine.

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