Before I start this, let me just say that the preceding article is not meant to downplay the issue of drunk driving in any way. Drunk driving is a very stupid, very selfish thing to do. It puts not only yourself in harms way, but others as well and it isn’t their fault. There is no more selfish thing in the world you can do when you’re behind the wheel of a car. Drunk driving is a huge issue, and it is my hope that this article, and my experience, will deter at least one person from making the mistake that I did. That being said, here is a 2nd Person Point Of View of getting your first DUI.

2:00 AM: You leave a bar with a pretty girl who you have no doubt impressed with your wit and charm, and you’re sure that you will undoubtedly be able to kiss her tonight. This is less because she’s actually into you, and more because when you’re drunk, you think everyone is into you.

2:10 AM: You notice the flashing lights behind you and have a panic attack. You’ve never gotten a DUI before, but you know that you’re about to. Sadly, this monumental moment is not something you’re looking forward to.

2:11 AM: The officer walks up to your window and sternly asks you to roll it down. You know the question isn’t really a question. You comply.

2:12 AM: The officer asks you if you’ve been drinking. You tell him that no you have not. You’re not sure exactly why you do this. The man is a police officer for a reason. He’s smarter than you. And he deals with drunken douche bags like you all the time. Yet you still maintain that you haven’t been drinking. He asks you why your car was swerving so badly. Your response: “I’m just a really bad driver.” This is true, but he still knows you’re drunk. He asks you to come out of the car to take some field sobriety tests. You’ve seen this on Cops before. You can beat the law. You are not afraid.

2:20 AM: You should have been afraid. You can’t beat the law. The law actually made you its bitch in short order. You did ok following his light with your eyes. But when it came time to walk a straight line, you weren’t even sure which foot was your right or left. Eventually, you just give up, look at the officer, and say “Obviously, I’m drunk.” He agrees in a tone that strikes you as condescending. Your third and final test is a breathalyzer. You’ve never done one of these before, so you’re a little bit excited. Your excitement dissipates when you realize that the breathalyzer is not your friend. In fact, it is going to be the thing that sends you to jail. You hate the breathalyzer.

2:21 AM: You blow a .130. This is almost twice the legal limit allowed to operate a motor vehicle. You’re scared.

2:22 AM: Your arms are handcuffed behind your back, and you are escorted into the back of a police car.

2:24 AM: You watch the girl who you were so desperately trying to impress walk into the nearby Loaf N Jug to wait for a ride home. You will probably never see her again.

2:25 AM: You try to make conversation with the officer as he’s driving you towards the worst night of your life. Luckily, you’re a charming, likeable guy. You make small talk, make him laugh, try to reassure yourself that you’re not a terrible person by asking him if this happens a lot. He assures you that it does, which is good for your peace of mind but it depresses you anyway.

2:40 AM: You pull into the Natrona County Correctional Facility. You’re still scared. You get out of the car and continue making wise cracks with your arresting officer. You feel like if you weren’t the criminal and he wasn’t the police officer, you two would be besties.

2:45 AM: Your new BFF is now patting you down. You tell him to “watch your hands; I’ve seen this movie before buddy.” In retrospect, you’re not quite sure what you even meant by that, or why you called an officer of the law ‘buddy,’ but he laughed nonetheless.

2:50 AM: You’re asked to take off all but one of your shirts. You’re fashionable, so you wear a lot of layers. You thank God that you’re wearing your Pepsi shirt and not your Miley Cyrus one.

2:55 AM: You’re asked to use the breathalyzer again. This is how many people avoid getting a DUI. Unfortunately, you drank more than many people. The officer tells you to “blow harder, keep blowing” and you resist the urge to say “that’s what I said.”

2:56 AM: Yep, you’re still too drunk to drive.

3:00 AM: You are brought into processing and immediately decide you’re going to make all of these people like you.

3:01 AM: You’re asked to stand in front of a camera to get your mug shot taken. You ask the processor if “it’s more douchey to smile or not smile?” She tells you not to smile.

3:10 AM: You are being finger printed. For some reason, you decide it would be a good idea to hit on the processor. You look at her as she’s holding your hand down and say, “Whoa! My arms look really toned right now huh?” Surprisingly, she agrees. You have just hit on the police officer-type-person that is about to put you in jail.

3:11 AM: You are put into a holding cell, because you are too tired to even pursue getting bailed out. Plus, it’s 3:00 in the morning and everyone you know is asleep. Cause it’s a Monday f*ckin morning.

3:15 AM: You lay on your shitty mattress pad under your shitty blanket, thinking about the shitty decision that you made. This is the first of many times in the next 12 hours that you will reflect on your life and the direction that it could have been heading. It is also the first of many times you will say, out loud, that “you’re a f*cking idiot.”

*The following times are estimated, as there are very few clocks in jail

6:30 AM: You are woken by a man telling you to put on jail clothes. This is typical prison fair- orange jumpsuit (apparatus?) and crocs. You look at yourself for the first time in a mirror. Your first thought: You are now a criminal. For sure. You have the dress and everything. Your second thought: You’re super glad the shirt you’re wearing is a V-neck. You wish you had a necklace to accentuate it.

7:00 AM: You’re offered breakfast but you refuse. You have resigned yourself to the fact that you will starve before you eat jail food.

12:00 PM: You’re offered lunch but you still refuse. Your will will not be broken.

1:30 PM: You are told it is now time for your court appearance. You are led through a cold hallway with numerous fellow inmates. You would not be surprised to get beaten up. Luckily, you’re charming, so you actually make friends with a few of them. Relief washes over you in an awesome wave.

1:35 PM: You are handcuffed, your feet are shackled, and your cuffs are locked to some weird mechanism attached to your waste. This seems a bit extreme, and the thought crosses your mind that you somehow got mixed in with the more…violent criminals. You try to think of a way to bring this topic up without offending your fellow inmates, but before you can, you’re told to get on the van which will transport you to the court.

1:37 PM: You are now in a very enclosed space with criminals. They all seem to be curious about what each other are “in” for. They look at you.  You contemplate telling them that you went on a violent killing spree, but remember that eventually you’ll have to tell the judge what you did, and then you will look like a douche. Well, more of a douche. You silently mumble ‘DUI.’ These hardened criminals make you feel better for the first time in nearly twelve hours. They all tell you it’s not a big deal; they’ve all done worse, blah blah blah. The fact is, it IS a big deal. It’s a huge deal. But you breathe a sigh of relief anyway.

1:45 PM: You are ushered into a cell to await your trial. Your cell mates make small talk about different hoeskis they have banged. You try to stifle your comments, but when they both realize they’ve slept with five of the same girls, you say, “either this town is extremely small, or you guys go after really slutty girls.” They laugh and agree.

1:50 PM: You’re not very hung over, and you haven’t eaten anything for nearly 24 hours. But for some reason your stomach feels extremely nauseous. You think water will help. You go to the sink and gorge yourself on water. This was a mistake.

1:51 PM: You’re going to throw up. You know this now. You apologize to your cellmates. “Sorry guys,” you say as you get in your knees in front of the toilet. This is a process in and of itself because you have enough hardware attached to yourself to make Hannibal Lecter say, “Really, guys?” You finally are comfortable enough to settle into throw up mode. But then, because you’re you, the bailiff comes to bring you all into the courtroom. You look at him in between vomiting and ask if he can come back. He agrees, but you can tell he is quite amused, and you will become a legend of these halls.

2:00 PM: You have puked up nothing but water, but you feel a million times better. You are ready to take on the world.

2:05 PM: The bailiff comes and takes you into the courtroom. You immediately notice a cute girl sitting in the back of the court room. You immediately realize that now that you are a criminal, you are immediately more desirable to women. The judge enters; you stand, and try to make eye contact with Your Honor. You fail.

3:00 PM: You have been sitting in the same chair, in the same position for an hour. You have listened to some of the most inane stories from people. One lady insisted that she had to get back home to her children, as she is the only one who can take care of them. Immediately the line from Liar Liar comes to you. “STOP BREAKING THE  LAW ASSHOLE.”  This makes you giggle to yourself. The bailiff hushes you.

3:30 PM: It’s finally your turn. You stand up, answer all of the preliminary questions with “yes Your Honor,” and try not to let your knees buckle. The judge tells you what you are being brought up on and asks you if you are guilty or not guilty. You’re guilty, so you say that you’re guilty. You find out later that this probably wasn’t a good idea. That notwithstanding, you continue to plead your case. You tell the judge that you’ve never really been in trouble with the law (true), you rarely drink (mostly true), and you’re never going to do anything like this again (totally true). You tell him that this has only happened once, but that one time is all it takes to kill someone, or yourself.

3:35 PM: Evidently, you have charmed the judge with your wit, charm, and naivety. He offers you a PR bond, which basically means he likes and trusts you enough to come back to your sentencing hearing, so you won’t have to actually pay any money to get out of jail.  You’re not quite sure what it meant at first, you ask him to repeat it.

Judge: I am giving you a PR bond for $1,000 and telling you to get an ASI test.

You: So…you know I plead guilty right?

Judge: Uh, yes.

You: So I have to pay the $1,000 to get out?

Judge: No, you’re being bonded out by your own personal recognizance.

You: Right…which means what again?

Judge: *Sigh* it means as long as you promise that you will come to your sentencing hearing, you are free to go for now.

You: Which means I don’t have to pay anything right? But I’m still getting released?...Sorry, I’m new at this.

Judge: YES.

You realize he’s about to change the terms of the bail, so you sit down and shut up.

5:00 PM: You re finally released! You get to put on your old clothes, your own underwear, and your beanie. Your precious beanie. You’re given your cell phone and your car keys. You are so close to freedom.

5:15 PM: As you’re waiting for a ride to pick you up, scary Mexican man with the tattoo on his face comes up to you. You’re scared. Please don’t shank me. He looks at you and asks, “Hey man, do you think you could give me a ride?” You consider the options. 1) You say no and he stabs you. 2) You say yes, and he stabs you and the person giving you a ride.  3) You don’t say anything and run out of the building as fast as you can.  You contemplate 3 for a while, but then decide that you will indeed give him a ride.

5:30 PM: You chuckle at the face your friend gives you as you walk to her car with a scary Mexican man with a tattoo on his face in tow. “Hey, can we give him a ride?” She says “Uh, sure.” You get in the car and proceed to revel in the awkward silence.

6:30 PM: You drop off scary Mexican man with a tattoo on his face at his destination. You talked on the drive and realized that he’s probably not a murderer. Well, he’s at least not YOUR murderer. You drop him off, give him $20 for some food, and take down his number. If you’re ever in a gang fight, you know who you’ll be calling.

7:00 PM: You are at home, on your bed, eating a triple cheeseburger and fries. You can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

In closing, this was a long day. I was scared, I was nervous, I was vulnerable and I hate hate hate being vulnerable. While some humorous things happened to me (they always do), this was not a humorous situation. Luckily, I was picked up before anything really terrible happened. But something terrible very easily could have happened. That’s something that I don’t know I would ever be able to live with.

I got lucky, if you consider owing more than $1,000 that you don’t really have lucky. A lot of people aren’t. According to the website for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in 2009 more than 10,000 people died as a result of drunk driving- 1 every 50 minutes. When I think about that statistic, I become sick to my stomach, because I very easily could have been one of those statistics, or worse yet, made someone else one of those statistics. There is no excuse for driving drunk. Tipsy Taxi is free. Regular taxis aren’t that expensive either. Now, I have a long road ahead of me to put this behind me. I made a decision, and it was a bad one, and now I’m dealing with the consequences. But now I’m pleading with you, as your photographer, as your web guy, as your friend, as someone who wants you to learn from my mistake and not become just another statistic, please do not drink and drive.