A Personal DUI Story: From Black Tie to Black Eye

Alison was an oh-so-cool 20-something when she was arrested for a DUI in the 1980s. While it's painful for her to share her story, she's hopeful it will keep others from drinking and driving today.

In my first post I promised to tell my DUI story. And while I’m tempted to procrastinate—or better yet, forget about the whole thing, as it’s a very bad memory for me—I will make good on my promise and deliver the goods here on Patch. 

My hope is that in sharing my story, it may shed light on how easy it is to drink, become impaired, and then drive without thinking clearly about the consequences. My advice to you is that if you are going to drink, you should assume in advance that you will not be able to drive (even after just one drink) and simply prepare in advance for another way home. How difficult is that? Just don’t drive. Take a cab. Call on a designated driver. Just. Don’t. Drive. That’s how I handled it for years before I gave up drinking altogether.

I was a young and oh-so-cool 20-something PR professional handling a black-tie press event for my boss, Ted Turner, at the Natural History Museum in downtown L.A. the night it happened. I had just flown in from Atlanta, so I was
already three hours (and several cocktails on the plane) ahead of everyone
else. My stomach was empty—how else was I to squeeze into my tight little black dress? But that didn’t stop me from downing a few flutes of champagne as I escorted reporters through an exhibit on Turner’s classic movies.

After the successful event, my best friend-roommate-drinking buddy and I decided we should celebrate my triumph at a nightclub. Both of us had been drinking but somehow we managed to drive our separate cars to the club, where we drank more and danced. When we finally decided we should go home to our apartment in Manhattan Beach, we crawled to our cars, and—because this was the anything-goes 1980s—the valet drivers handed us our keys. 

My roommate made it home without a hitch, but I wasn’t so fortunate. I got lost and drove around for hours until I ended up on Interstate-5 near Downey—which was when I was pulled over for erratic driving.

Yes, I was given a field sobriety test, which I failed. Yes, I was handcuffed and shoved into the back seat of the policeman’s car (and promptly threw up all over it). Yes, I was fingerprinted. Yes, I spent the night in jail. And yes, I it cost me many sleepless nights and about $10,000 in attorney, DUI school and court fees to pay for my terrifyingly irresponsible behavior. Yes, I am thankful today that the cops pulled me over before I hurt someone or myself.  And finally, yes, I did learn my lesson. I never drank and drove after that…and a few years later, I sobered up

So that’s my story. Of course, my experience is more than two decades old, so does anyone with a more recent experience care to share?  

For my next blog, I thought it would be helpful if we heard the latest on the DUI scene from an expert, so I will have a Q&A with Newport Beach attorney Walter Mitchell, whose firm, The Sterling Law Group, specializes in DUI cases. Stay tuned for that next week.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lady Golfnut January 14, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Robert: just finished watching The Stroll. Awesome! Just a bit before my time but I can totally appreciate! I'm a child of the sixties. Nonetheless, I totally enjoyed it. As to Van burden, well Rubidoux is in the same vicinity so I think we're on th same page! Wow thanks for the memories! I grew up in Corona and have lived in South County since I married in 1981!
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 14, 2013 at 04:50 AM
Lady..you are rapidly becoming the only person I might enjoy talking to....The 60's were a real transitional period in our history and the tumult produced some real never heard before music....It may be abit early, but could we become pen pals via e-mail?. I would like to send you tons of music from the 60's....If not, I understand...fishbackrobert@gmail.com Patch sucks..Bob
jeancheryl801 January 21, 2013 at 07:37 PM
upto I looked at the bank draft that said $9835, I accept that...my... cousin had been realy erning money parttime from there pretty old laptop.. there sisters neighbour haz done this for less than seventeen months and just now paid for the morgage on there appartment and bought themselves a Renault 4. I went here,======>>> bit90.comchk this out <<<========
Vision PR CSUF March 18, 2013 at 07:37 AM
DUI's suck! My brother who is 26 just got a DUI three weeks ago and is scared to death of what is to come of him. But instead of doing the breathalizer, he hoped that the blood alcohol test would serve him justice. $2,000+ after getting his truck out of impound, paying for the blood test, and paying for the lawyer we hope that things turn out ok. I hope that this incident was a reality check for him like it was for you... #CSUF
ROBERT E. FISHBACK March 18, 2013 at 05:16 PM
I have not read all of this...it sure got allot of response. It is wise to insist on blood alcohol over breath alcohol. There can be a vast difference. I have wondered what would happen if a person pulled over waited until the policeman got right beside the door and then the driver holds a half pint up and drinks most of it right in front of the officer. He could be charged with open container, but how could it be proved he was driving while intoxicated. The driver would need to throw keys out window before he did this. In court, it could not be proven he was intoxicated while driving.


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