Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can turn someone's life upside down.
On occasion, a DUI arrest can also turn a person's life around. While the legal penalties and stigma that can result from a DUI can be severe, sometimes a DUI can be a wakeup call. That was the experience of one Georgia citizen who recently thanked a Forsyth County Sheriff's Deputy for a DUI arrest.
The Forsyth County Sheriff's Department has been in the news in recent months due to several accidents where drivers who were allegedly under the influence crashed into law enforcement officers. The Forsyth County Sheriff has announced that they will be stepping up DUI patrols and enforcement to prevent further accidents and injuries.
In addition to a stern warning about DUI enforcement, the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department also shared the grateful citizen's comments on Facebook earlier this month.
The anonymous citizen said that they had been arrested for DUI by Forsyth County Deputy First Class Kurt Chambers last year. The citizen said he or she was initially resentful but came to realize that the arrest actually helped turn his or her life around. According to the Sheriff's Department's Facebook post, the citizen wanted to tell Deputy First Class Chambers that "…you saved my life. If I didn't get that DUI I would have never gotten involved with AA…I have been sober for a year now."
Another Georgia citizen shared a similar experience a few months ago. Ben Huntziger told WALB News that he still continued to drink after an accident while driving under the influence left him paralyzed.
While there have been discussions about whether ignition interlock devices (IIDs) can be dangerously distracting to drivers, Huntziger credits the mandatory installation of an IID with saving his life. Huntzinger now says he has not had a drink in more than a year, and he credits the IID with opening his eyes to how dangerous his drinking was.
Why Do So Many People Get a Second (or Third) DUI?
Not everyone arrested for DUI immediately turns their life around. In fact, I recently wrote about how some of our clients get a second DUI before their first DUI case is even resolved. An arrest can be the lowest moment in a person's life. If they use alcohol or drugs to cope with that stress, they are more likely to get a subsequent DUI.
Georgia DUI Penalties increase with each DUI arrest, and the courts are often unsympathetic to repeat offenders. The solution, as I wrote before, is to avoid a subsequent DUI at any cost. That means abstaining from alcohol or drug use, by any means necessary. For some people that may mean AA, drug or alcohol dependency treatment, or doing it on their own. The most important thing is that people who are arrested for DUI get the support they need to stop using alcohol or drugs until their case is resolved.
A DUI arrest can be a wakeup call. Abstaining (at least temporarily) from alcohol or drug use can give you the space to reflect on the conditions that led to the DUI in the first place, as well as preventing a second DUI.