I just got back from the DUIL Program, a two week stay in Tewksbury State Hospital that was part of the sentence for my second DUI. There I learned about some additional burdens I’ll have to shoulder as part of the penalty for my offense.
First and foremost, there’s Melanie’s Law. Before I went to DUIL, I knew that if I wanted a hardship license, so I could drive to work before my two year license suspension was up, I’d have to have an ignition interlock device installed in my car. With the interlock device, I’d have to pass a breathalyzer test to start the car, and also at random intervals while I was driving. The device is called the “blow-and-go”. DUIL was the first time anyone mentioned Melanie’s Law. That law says I have to get an interlock device when I apply for license reinstatement, even if I never apply for a hardship license. I have to have the interlock for the first two years after reinstatement, whether or not I’d been using one with a hardship license. And I can’t wait it out and bypass the requirement. No matter how long I wait, for the first two years after I start driving again, I have to use the blow-and-go.
Since the interlock needs to be calibrated every month, the fees for that process pile up. Also, since anyone driving the car will have to use the blow-and-go, we’ll need a second car. Ruth won’t want to have to deal with the thing to drive, nor should she have to.
If for some reason I blow above .02, the car won’t start (or, if it’s running, it won’t start the next time I try to start it). I have to have the car towed to the place where the interlock is serviced to get it reset. And I’ll have to go to court. The legal limit for someone with two DUIs is .02, not .08. While I won’t be drinking, let alone drinking and driving, I could blow a .04 by gargling with alcohol-based mouthwash. If I get a third DUI, there’s mandatory jail time, so I’ll have to be careful about anything I do before I drive.
Also, in addition to the weekly alcohol aftercare meetings, I’m likely to be required to go to two AA meetings each week. Two hours (plus travel time – with no car, travel time is always an issue) of AA every week will be a burden. And I haven’t been drinking for 6 months. Two hours of listening to people telling their alcohol-related war stories will be sure to keep drinking in the forefront of my mind, and that’s probably not the best way to keep me from drinking again.
The lesson, as always, is don’t drink and drive.