Please don’t drink and drive

There are two basic approaches for discouraging a motorist from drinking and driving, and likewise two basic strategies for avoiding committing drunk driving.

The two basic approaches are

DO NOT BE A SOCIOPATH

and

THE CONSEQUENCES CAN DAMAGE YOU EVEN IF YOU ARE LUCKY.

The basic strategies for not drunk-driving are “do not drive” or “do not drink”; these strategies are perfectly effective but not perfectly popular, as active DUI attorneys like me can attest.

Driving while under the influence or while impaired by alcohol is never safe, but especially unsafe on nights where the offense is going to be more common and the other drivers are likewise impaired. A decent non-sociopathic human being will decide not to drink and drive. A sociopath can keep his eye on “what’s in it for me?” and still avoid drunk driving, due to the catastrophic consequences like jail, fines, repair bills, lost income, cab rides to/from jail, eviction (got no license, got no ride, got no job, got no cash left, got no apartment), the costs of probation.

Legal fees, too; we charge actual green money for helping out with legal work for the defendant in State v. Drunk. Deductibles and the cost of increased premiums add up too; the Gecko and Flo from Progressive are going to take it really personally if you T-Bone your Corolla into the side of some factory worker coming off the 4-12 shift and break her left tibia, fibula and six ribs – drunk. Maybe you might also kill some teenager sitting on the driver’s side, maybe someone who – responsibly – didn’t ride with her worthless drunk boyfriend and called her Mom instead.  Your keys, your booze, your dice.

Think about the cost of the most expensive cab ride from downtown in your city (say, Baltimore) to the most remote suburb (say, Havre de Grace out along the “Land God Gave to Cain” on Route 40 past the pawn shops, peep shows and bankrupt liquor stores.) $150, maybe, and then maybe a lift back later to fetch your car? $150 plus lunch on you at Appleby’s for your friend for taking you to fetch your car is a much cheaper deal than a tow bill and a bail deposit in the aftermath of a high-impact DUI case – let alone legal fees.

No one should have to talk about the consequences on you from drunk driving. Warning you about the consequences to others ought to be enough. But if you are the sort of self-absorbed person who is listening ONLY to “WII-FM”  – “what’s in it, for me” – then consider this. You can keep on drinking more booze into the future if you avoid catching a no-alcohol-at-all probation order for 18 months.  You can avoid that scenario entirely if you either abstain (never a mistake) or secure a place to stay, a cab ride or public transit to your destination. You can keep on drinking (if that’s important) if you dump the keys, stay in, watch a marathon of The Big Bang Theory or what’s on Netflix.  Dump the car, stay at home and knock back a cold one.

I am tired of this being the n-th year in which I don’t get to say “Happy New Year” to my best friend from law school. Admittedly, it’s a little personal. If I come off as a bit preachy, so be it; the drunk who killed Nancy Yellin, Esquire, and three members of her familly didn’t have a preachy jerk convince him to stay home.  The killer is doing life in Florida now, but that doesn’t resurrect the dead.

Call a cab. Stay home. Get a lift from a SOBER driver. Catch the bus. Get a hotel, cheap or fancy.  Stay at an all night bar drunk listening to Nickelback if you have completely lost your dignity, but that’s better than trying to drive blitzed.

Call or text me if you must at 240-687-3564 and you are in Maryland; I will respect you for it and will try HARD to help. Do it because you are a decent human being or, failing that, because you want to keep looking out for number one.

Whether you “don’t drink” or “don’t drive”, either strategy will keep you much safer. If you must drive on New Year’s Eve, please be aware of the dangerous fools who were less wise than you in their planning and executive function.  Please be safe.

My best for a healthy, prosperous and responsible 2015.

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