Don’t Drink and Drive – An initiative begun some years ago, where I was a part of in our particular locality when it began. Over the years I have seen it pretty effective, though it seems to have tapered down now. However, it was also a cause of worry when friends do not listen and get caught. I have had a couple of them caught but wanted to keep everything quiet.
Recently, a friend was caught and a bitter experience that ultimately ended up on the right side and happy. Upon my urging he agreed to a guest blog post. Here it is in his own words:
Drinking and driving is stupid, no matter how you look at it. No matter what you think your ‘capacity’ is its very likely that you are impaired and it is illegal.
I recently ran through the entire DUI process. I was at an event some time ago where I had a whiskey cocktail, a glass of champagne and half a glass of wine across 3 hours. Since I live very close to the venue i had driven myself.
On the way back I was pulled over by the cops and the breathalyser showed a .150 which I thought was very high considering my intake. By my calculations (done much later) I should have shown a level of .16-.33. The legal limit here is a .3.
While I disagreed with the cops, I am not one to argue. After spending a few minutes trying to ‘sort’ it out with them I was told nothing can be done and I would have to go to the station with them. They were perfectly polite, sent a Constable to drive the car to the station where I was and let me off after depositing 5100 rupees. The whole thing took 20 minutes and I received a court date for a few days later.
Now begins the fun part. I get a call from a lawyer who got my number for the police station and said he could sort it out for 8000 bucks. I told him I would call him back. I spoke to a few people who said I shouldn’t worry, just go to the court and see how things go.
My day in court I was told I MUST hire a lawyer by the cops and others. By this time I wasn’t very sure what to do and who to listen to. Most people I know who had been stopped had been able to get out of it before going to court. I of course am not very good at things like that and thus ended up in court.
I was fully committed to pleading guilty and hoping to be let off right away, the lawyer however told me not to do so. He said since the case is in local court there is a chance that the judge might just imprison for between 1-3 days or even 6. the maximum provision is of course 6 months. Having watched all the seasons of HBO’s OZ there was no way I was going to prison.
The lawyer advised me to plead not guilty and get a court date for the following week. He would have my case transferred to what is called a Lok Adalat which is basically a fast track plead guilty court. It is here I would plead guilty and be let off with a fine of between 2000-2500 (2000 in my case)
I can apply to the police station to get your license back and the lawyer is to help you process the refund of the deposit which is sent to your bank via ECS. Will be fun explaining where that money is coming from in case someone looks at your accounts.
Lawyer fees were 3500 rupees which included the 2000 for the fine. Cheap but also pretty much an idiot, however since the whole process is set it does not really matter. All you need is A lawyer. Consider this, lawyer who had called me and asked for 8000 had got 15000 from another offender.
In each instance people were mostly polite and I never spend more than 2 hours in court and the first day at the station was about 20 mins. Yet, it was a headache I didn’t need. Despite the fact that I am sure I wasn’t as drunk as the test said, I did have a few drinks and I chose to drive. it was silly and stupid and I shouldn’t have done it.
Also, do understand, if you get into even a minor scrape like a fender bender etc and you have had a drink or two, it can become a much more serious charge. If you feel you are being pushed into a faulty reading ask for a blood test and get a lawyer immediately.Once you sign the slip generated by the breathalyser you are done.
All this can be avoided by calling a cab.It’s pretty much a guarantee that ill never drink and drive again and neither should you.