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The Morning After: A Look at DUI Consequences

Now ask yourself this .... is it really worth it to drink and drive?  (Photo by Matthew Jurgens/Graphics by James Rainer)

Now ask yourself this .... is it really worth it to drink and drive? (Photo by Matthew Jurgens/Graphics by James Rainer)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- It was a fun night that ended in a not so fun way. You received a DUI, and now you are dealing with the consequences. We hear about others getting DUI's, but rarely do we think about the cost that goes along with it.

First, if you are stopped either for suspicion of DUI or at a random roadside check, and you fail the breathalyzer test, chances are you will not be going home right away. Plan to spend the night in jail. You will spend your first several hours at the police station being finger printed and processed for your judicial action.

Michelle Perlman, Assistant State Attorney, Misdemeanor Division Chief in Brevard County, explained the real life impact one bad decision can have on your life if you are driving under the influence of alcohol in Florida.

For a first offense in Florida, there is a minimum fine of $250-500 plus court costs, loss driver's license for 6-12 months, immobilization or impounding of one's vehicle for a minimum of 10 days to 12 months (with a charge for towing and storage), possible ignition interlock device installation on all of your cars (with a charge), up to six months in jail, a minimum of six months of probation (because ALL DUI's are criminal convictions), a required substance abuse course and psychological evaluation (possibly leading to required counseling you must pay for), and 50 hours of community service. The court may also recommend attendance at victim awareness training, payment of investigation costs, an order that you not possess or consume alcohol during probation, and required random drug and alcohol testing, again at your own expense.

If it is a 2nd or 3rd offense within 10 years of the first offense, these consequences escalate with possible jail time up to one year in jail. If you had a minor in the car or your blood alcohol level was above .20, the penalty is higher whether or not it was your first offense.

Repeated infractions can lead to additional fines, a felony conviction and additional jail time. If you injure someone, you may also wind up in court facing a civil action for millions of dollars by the individual who was injured by your drunken driving.

For DUIs on a federal installation, such as Patrick Air Force Base, the offense is punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. For a DUI resulting in personal injury to another, the maximum punishment under the UCMJ is a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and confinement for up to 18 months. If the DUI does not result in injuries, the maximum punishment is a Bad Conduct Discharge, confinement for up to 6 months and forfeiture of all pay and allowances. If a DUI results in death to another person, then you may be facing prosecution for manslaughter.

And, that's not all. Air Force instructions mandate that the installation commander immediately suspend driving privileges on the installation if you are lawfully detained and refuse to submit to a test to measure blood alcohol by the law of the jurisdiction in which you were stopped (on or off-base) or if you operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 or higher. This suspension will become a revocation for a period of not less than one year after a conviction or a military or civilian administrative action for driving while intoxicated.

Now ask yourself this .... is it really worth it to drink and drive?