How Much Is Too Much: Here’s What Happens When Moms Drink and Drive
Iâ€™ll be the first to admit â€“ Iâ€™m no model of temperance.Â One look at any blog Iâ€™ve written and youâ€™ll know thatâ€™s true.Â And to be honest, one of my favorite things to do is enjoy a little wine and good food with my friends and family on any given weekend.
Thatâ€™s right.Â Somehow drinking has become a family affair.Â We go to bar-be-ques and have a few beers, watch football games with the beverage of our choice, and have block parties where everyone contributes a little something.
I feel like I am part of a generation of adults who have become somewhat desensitized to the perils of drinking and driving.Â We have seen the pictures of smashed up cars since we were in middle school and have heard lectures about how lives have been ruined since the day we got our licenses.Â And after years and years of being bombarded with all of that information, I think so many of us glaze over and have a kind of â€śso what?â€ť attitude about it.
I guess maybe we figure that if it hasnâ€™t happened to us by now, chances are it wonâ€™t.
This blog isnâ€™t coming out of the blue.Â For some reason this summer I, as well as many of my friends, have found ourselves in the position of either taking someone elseâ€™s keys away or taking care of children because a parent has had one too many cocktails.Â And while I would like to think itâ€™s because Iâ€™m paying closer attention to the well-being of others, I actually think itâ€™s because so many people Iâ€™ve been coming into contact with have the â€śit wonâ€™t happen to meâ€ť attitude.
And if thatâ€™s what you haveâ€¦good luck with that.
Believe me when I say Iâ€™m not writing this to be preachy â€“ no one is perfect.Â But there is a limit.Â And when you exceed that limit, there is a price.Â And since I feel like it really doesnâ€™t do much good to pummel you with information about what happens in the worst-case scenario (you actually kill or injure someone or yourself), Iâ€™ve decided to go another route and appeal to your wallet and your shame when it comes to drinking and driving.
How much is too much?
I have wondered myself â€śhow much is too muchâ€ť under the letter of the law.Â And the truth is, itâ€™s hard to pin that down â€“ there are so many different factors such as size-of-person and size-of-drink that itâ€™s hard to come up with a rule of thumb for everyone.Â But when I asked Casey Cashman, DUI Instructor for the Parker Police Department, how someone can determine that for themselves, he gave me a simple tip:Â â€śIf you have to think about it, youâ€™ve had too much.â€ť
CDOT also has a link to iPhone and Android apps that will not only help you calculate your possible BAC (Blood Alcohol Content), it will help you get a cab if youâ€™ve had a few too many.
This doesnâ€™t apply to me!Â I donâ€™t even drink!
Had a little dental work lately and needed to take a Percocet to ease the pain?Â Had some lower back issues and youâ€™ve recently filled a prescription for Vicodin?Â If you get behind the wheel after taking certain medication, youâ€™re running the risk of an arrest.
â€śFrom the moment we make a stop, weâ€™re looking for signs of any impairment,â€ť says Officer Dawn Cashman. Â â€śAnd these days, we are seeing an increase in the number of stops made due to drugs or prescription medication.â€ť
Just something to think about.
What happens if Iâ€™m caught?
This is where I really want to get your attention because most people just think of money when it comes to a DUI arrest.Â And they should because the average DUI will cost you around $10,000 between bail, court fees, attorneys, alcohol classes, retrieving your car from an impound lot, getting your license back, and a steep increase in your insurance for a good, long while.
But money aside, if you are pulled over and charged with a DUI while your children are in the car, you will be charged with one count of child abuse for each child.
Thatâ€™s right.Â Child abuse.
â€śThe arresting officer will do everything he can to contact someone you know to pick up your child(ren),â€ť says Officer Cashman.Â â€śBut if no one can be contacted then Social Services will take custody.â€ť
So, now youâ€™re broke, youâ€™re having at-home visits from Social Services for an indefinite amount of time, and, in the state of Colorado, you will have this charge on your record for the rest of your life.Â Yup.Â If you got a DUI in college and were assuming that it would be expunged from your record by the time you turn 40 – think again.Â In this state, each charge builds on each other and you will receive a stiffer penalty every time you test the system increasing jail time, fines, sentencing, and revocation of your driving privileges.
The next time you strap your kids in the backseat and get behind the wheel after a small gathering at your friendâ€™s house where youâ€™ve had a couple of glasses of wineâ€¦try to answer these questions:
- Is it possible Iâ€™ve had too much?
- How will it affect my kids when I have no license to drive them to after school activities?
- How will I explain to a stranger who has the ability to take my kids away that I really am a good mom?
Who can I ask for a ride home?
Catherine Tidd is a writer, widow and mother of three. She is the founder of www.theWiddahood.com, a free peer support website dedicated to anyone who has lost a significant other and has a Facebook peer support page under the name Widow Chick.Â Â She has been published in several books about grief and renewal and also writes a blog on anything that pops into her nutty brain called Bud Light Wishes and Cheeto Dreams.