The following story is something very personal that has changed my life completely (in a positive way) & I’d like to share with everyone. I want to show people that we all make mistakes but it’s what we do after that proves who we are. This will be broken up into four parts: THE MISTAKE, 17.5HRS IN JAIL, THE CONSEQUENCES & THE NEW ME.
After 17.5hrs in jail I was finally free and as soon as I stepped out I had to start paying the consequences for my mistake. I had to pay my sister for the cost of the bond ($500) and then I had to pay to get my car from the impound ($200). I got out in time to make it to the Britney Spears concert but that was the last thing on my mind so I had to call my friend and told him I couldn’t make it ($100). I knew my mistake was going to cost me a lot of $$$, I just didn’t realize how much. I told myself as soon as I got out that I would not get a loan or use any credit card to pay for any of this. It was my mistake and I will have to cut back where needed to make sure I pay cash for everything.
My 1st court date was a week from when I got out. I had no clue what to do; I had never been in trouble with the law. All I knew is that this was going to be a crazy ride and it will change my life forever. I started looking for an attorney, the prices were outrages they ranged from $5000 to $750 to represent me throughout the entire case. I finally picked an attorney I went on the cheap side $750 (that’s all I could afford).
It was time to go to court and get the ball rolling. I still remember walking into the court for the 1st time and looking around. I had a million thoughts running through my mind. I looked around and knew I didn’t belong here. I kept thinking these people look crazy and like criminals gosh I am a criminal now. My attorney came and let me know he was just going to reset the case for a later date so he could gather all the evidence and paper work to see what they have against me. I thought well that was easy, but now I have to come back again. Turns out when you get a DWI you have two cases: 1 against the county for the DWI charge and 1 against the state to retain your Driver’s License.
Long story short my case was reset 8 times over the course of 7 months before I got my punishment. During this time my attorney was able to handle the case against the state for my driver’s license. Thankfully we won that case and I was able to retain my driver’s license. I had to pay a $125 fee to have my driver’s license reinstated. On the other hand things didn’t go to well for my DWI charges. My attorney let me know all my options. It seemed like no matter what we did I was going to be found guilty and it would be on my record except for one option. Harris County had just rolled out a new program for 1st time DWI offenders. It is called the DIVERT program. This program allows people to plead guilty however after completing all requirements throughout the course of year probation successfully the DWI is dismissed. I didn’t like that idea at all but I had no choice at least doing this I have the benefit of getting the DWI dismissed and it would be up to me to get everything done.
In order to get into the DIVERT program you have to pay a fee ($200) so you can be evaluated and find out if you qualify for it. I was accepted into the program and on October 23, 2009 we finally reached a verdict/punishment for my DWI charge. I didn’t want to sign the agreement. It was 8 pages worth of things I had to complete during my year of probation. I remember calling my dad in tears because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it. I finally signed the damn 8 page agreement and began my year of probation. Here are a few things listed in the agreement:
- Monthly Supervision fee of $60
- One time District Attorney’s Office fee of $160
- Monthly cost of leasing an ignition interlock monitoring device (breathalyzer) fee of $65
- Keep the ignition interlock on my vehicle for 12 months
- Monthly Urinalysis (drug test) fee of $25
- One time Identification Card fee of $12.50
- One time DIVERT Education Course fee of $160
- Attend DIVERT Intensive Outpatient Treatment – 3 times a week for 8 weeks
- Attend DIVERT Supportive Outpatient Treatment – 2 times a week for 10 weeks
- Attend one Alcoholics Anonymous meeting
- Perform 16 hours of community service
- Limited travel – must remain within the state of Texas & must request permission to leave
- No Alcohol Premises (no bars or clubs)
- No Alcohol or Drugs for the duration of the probation
- Must stay employed throughout the entire course of the probation
Those are just a few of the things listed on the 8 page agreement. If I failed to meet any of the requirements listed in the agreement I would be subject to a $750 fine plus a 30 day stay in jail. So you better believe me when I say I followed the entire agreement to the T. I didn’t mess with it at all.
At first I kept a spread sheet of every single expense that came because of this. However when I saw that number pass $3000, I got outraged and deleted it; I told myself I didn’t want to know what the full price of this was going to be. Till this day I don’t know how much it fully cost me my guess would be somewhere around $6000. So far I have listed just about all the monetary consequences that came with my mistake. What I haven’t talked about is the emotional and life perspective consequences that came along with having to go through this entire ordeal for 19 months. I will explain that on my next post “The New Me”.
Looking back at everything I still have no clue how I managed to survive this whole ordeal. I had to complete all that and more through out the course of my year probation, I also had to get that all done while working full time & going to school full time. I do get upset at myself for what this cost me $$$ wise, but I get even more pissed off when I think about how much of my precious time was spent dealing with this over the course of 19 months. Its time I will never get back and its time that was literally wasted because this could have been prevented. Oh well I see things so differently now and I have learned to admire the quote “We live & We learn” because that is the truth.