DWI, The Real Costs
For us, last summer consisted of doing and learning new and different things in order to broaden our horizons and increase our knowledge base. Writing can be boring for both writer and reader if nothing new comes into the writer’s life. During the summer, we met a very nice lady. She was in business for herself and the business was very profitable and thriving, but she was having a hard time making ends meet.
While we were working with her, I had to drive her to town one day so she could make some deliveries. While I drove we talked about different things, including her business, and since she was physically and mentally capable of driving herself and the items that needed delivered were light and easy to handle, why she needed me to drive. DWI was the reason.
As the story goes, she had been making deliveries one evening and one of the stops was at a tavern where “happy hour” was in progress. Drinks were half price, at one dollar each, and she had a few more than she would have if they’d been the normal $2.00. On the way home, she encountered a state policeman who was concerned about her weaving down the road and didn’t care at all that drinks had been half the normal fare. Sometimes when I get that kind of information in my head, I have to let it work its way around until I can come up with an answer that translates to real life, why so many of us seem to always be over scheduled in our lives and a dollar or more short in our wallets.
We didn’t discuss how many too many drinks she had, so I’m using four as the benchmark. At first glance, it would appear that she’d saved $4.00, but a DWI traffic ticket alone can cost hundreds, maybe thousands. Staying overnight in jail can’t be a real pleasant experience. I understand that in the drunk tank a lot of people get sick and throw up, maybe on the floor and possibly on you. If you’ve ever had your car towed, you know it’s not free or even cheap. At this point in the story, we’re probably talking $1500.00. When she went to court, it cost her time and, since she had to have to have someone else tend to business for her, more money. If an attorney were required, the price of those “cheap” drinks goes up quickly. For the last two, let’s add $500.00, and that’s probably conservative.
Now that we’ve gotten all the obvious initial costs in money and life energy out of the way, let’s see what else was involved. The lady had to drive to a big city once a week to service her customers there. Her drivers license had been suspended for a year and she had to have someone else drive her an hour and a half to the city, four or five hours around in the city and an hour and a half back. One hundred dollars a day, once a week was the cost. Her business in the city was the mainstay of her overall income, and she couldn’t afford to drop it because of costs to get there and back. Multiplying fifty-two weeks times one hundred dollars per week, plus the other costs to this point, we find her costs are now $7200.00 less the $4.00 saved at happy hour. In most states, when a person gets a DWI, they have to have a special piece of equipment installed on their vehicle that won’t allow them to drive if, after breathing into it, their blood/alcohol level is above a certain percentage. They have to buy the equipment and it isn’t installed for free. The cost depends on the state and, without pursuing it further, I’m going to estimate it cost her another $500.00.
She said her designated driver got sick and she had to spend a lot of time trying to find a replacement or lose the business, possibly for that day or maybe forever. There’s no way to put a dollar figure on the costs involving loss of life energy, but in dollar figures alone, her overall costs were probably ten thousand dollars. That figure coincides with what a long time friend told me it cost him for the same problem.
None of the above includes any costs and damages that may have occurred or been caused to personal lives and relationships. It almost cost my long time friend his marriage. How can we place a monetary figure on the parts of our life that’s bled away by those types of experiences? We can’t but, if we’re honest with ourselves, we know they suck up our life energies.
Tags: Alcohol , DWI , Driving , Alcoholic
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