Assuming this is your first offense and you find a pretty inexpensive lawyer, you’re going to have to pay a minimum of $2,500 in fees. Think of all of the things you could do and buy with $2,500!
DWI attorney fees are (at minimum) equal to:
Almost a 25% down payment on a new Hyundai Accent
There are many additional costs of getting a DWI. $2,500 does not even include the cost of towing your car, paying for alternate transportation while your license is suspended, higher insurance premiums, and the impact a DWI on your record could have on getting a job in the future. Taking the risk of drinking and driving instead of spending a little money on a cab or calling someone for a ride isn’t worth all of this.
2525 iTunes downloads
500 $5 Foot Long subs from Subway or $5 Pizza Mia pizzas from Pizza Hut
17 pairs of designer jeans
A trip to Cancun at an all-inclusive resort for you and 3 of your friends]]>
If you’ve read our material on drinking and driving, you may be saying to yourself, “Duh! I would never do something that stupid!” We’re glad you’ve come to that conclusion. But you should know, simply abstaining from drinking doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
Just having booze in your car, whether it’s in your glove compartment or in your friend’s backpack in the trunk, can land you in a heap of trouble. Although laws vary from state to state, each have rules pertaining to alcohol, minors, and their car.
Revocation of License
Although the length of time differs from state to state, a minor found with alcohol in his or her car (yes, including the trunk) can have his or her license revoked. Some states revoke it for a 30-day period while others, like Washington, will revoke the license for up to a year, especially if you’re under the age of 17. Remember that this is only for having alcohol in the car, not consuming it.
A ticket for a Minor in Possession, or MIP, is just like any other ticket – You will have to pay a fine. In California, for example, you must pay $250 along with your license revocation. In other states, you could pay as much as $500. But, I guess you won’t be spending that money on gas anyway, with Mom and Dad driving you around and all.
Classes and Service
Many states will require you to attend a series of Alcohol Education classes (which also charge a fee) and/or complete community service hours in addition to the fines and license revocation. The classes are usually two or three-hour sessions and the community service can be up to 20 hours.
Some states, in a further effort to keep teens away from alcohol, include jail time as part of the punishment. This could range from one night to 30 days behind bars, depending on the state and the particular circumstance.
Keep in mind that if you are caught with alcohol in your car (even if it’s unopened and not yours), there will be consequences.
Do you really want to lose your license because you didn’t have to courage to tell your friends, “not in my car”? Sure, they might become angry with you, but they’d be lot more upset if you got pulled over and you were all ticketed with an MIP.
Remember that you are responsible for everything in your vehicle.]]>
Check out the video below in which a highway patrolman, former prosecutor, and insurance agent discuss some of these topics:
A Night in Jail
With a DUI arrest, you will more than likely end up in a group or shared cell. There’s a good chance that your fellow inmates are no strangers to jail and may enjoy terrorizing you. You, on the other hand, will not enjoy your stay. That’s why it’s called jail.
Your Car Will Be Towed
If you are pulled over for a DUI and arrested, your car will be towed. You will then have to pay a substantial fine to get your vehicle out of the impound lot. You’ll also have to pay the towing company for their services. At minimum, you’re looking at a couple hundred dollars.
Loss of License and Fine
Many states’ zero tolerance laws call for automatic suspension of a teen’s driver’s license when he or she is arrested for drinking and driving. A first-time offense may result in a 90-day suspension. Subsequent offenses can result in license revocation for up to a year.
Most judges will also hit you with a fine. The amount varies depending on the severity of the charge and whether this is your first offense.
Sky-rocketing Insurance Premiums
As far as an insurance company is considered, a DUI arrest is no different than a DUI conviction. If you don’t believe us, watch the video on this page and you can hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.
So, what exactly does a DUI arrest do to your insurance premium? It will send it shooting through the roof. Your premium will likely double and possibly even triple. That’s assuming that you don’t lose your insurance altogether. If you’re a teen, you will also jeopardize the coverage for your entire family. If your family can’t afford the increased insurance rates, they may have to drop you from their coverage, which means you won’t be legally allowed to drive.
Once you are no longer covered on your parents’ insurance policy, you will find that a DUI arrest will haunt your insurance rates for years to come.
Enormous Legal Fees
According to a former prosecutor that we spoke with, a first-time offender can expect to pay upwards of $2500 in legal fees. Second and third offenses can be double or triple that amount. Couple hefty legal fees with the insurance hikes and you’re looking at many thousands of dollars (probably more than you can count on one hand) for getting caught drinking and driving.
DUI Conviction on Your Record
When applying for a job, you will be asked if you’ve ever been found guilty or pleaded guilty to a criminal offense. You will be forced to list a DUI conviction, which could adversely affect your ability to get the job.
Applications for bank loans as well as college admission applications may also ask if you’ve been convicted of a criminal offense, DUIs included.
The next time you’re thinking about getting behind the wheel after drinking, consider all the consequences of your actions.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the drunk drivers who suffer from their own carelessness. Their passengers as well as other innocent drivers are needlessly killed or injured.
While there are no guarantees in life, there are things you can do to lower the risk of becoming the victim of a reckless drunk driver.
Avoid late night driving
The rate of fatal alcohol-related crashes is three times higher at night than during the day. Obviously, you can’t stay completely off the streets at night, but the less time you spend on the roads late at night, the safer you’ll be from drunk drivers.
Stay off the road on ‘Drinking Holidays’
The month of December, the 4th of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Super Bowl Sunday are especially dangerous days on our nation’s roads. These times of celebration usually culminate with many impaired drivers hitting the streets. If you can avoid driving during these times, do it.
Ride the Right Side
Oftentimes, drunk drivers drift out of their lanes or completely cross into oncoming traffic. You can reduce the risk of being side-swiped or hit head-on by driving slightly in the right side of your lane as oncoming vehicles approach. Also, be mindful of cars driving in the same direction as you. Try to maintain a safe distance between yourself and other cars.
Don’t Assume Anything, Especially at Night
Anticipating other drivers’ actions, but not going so far as to make assumptions about other drivers’ intentions is the hallmark of defensive driving. For instance, just because a driver has activated their turn signal, it doesn’t mean they’re going to turn where you think they’re going to turn–or that they’ll even turn at all.
You must wait until the driver has committed to their action before making your own driving decisions. Drunk drivers are going to be even less predictable than sober drivers. And at night, the dangers are compounded drastically.
Avoid Country Roads and Two Lane Highways at Night
According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, in 2005, 61% of those killed in auto accidents were driving on rural, two-lane byways. Many of these roads offer poor visibility, challenging curves, and a variety of wildlife that could cause other vehicles to swerve in your direction. They’re also less likely to be maintained on a regular basis. Add a few drunk drivers to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.
Keep Your Car Maintained, Especially Your Tires
You want to have maximum control over your vehicle at all times, as you never know when you’ll need to slam on the brakes or swerve to avoid an reckless driver. Because your tires are one of the most important factors regarding your vehicle’s ability to turn, stop, and accelerate, make sure they’re properly inflated and the tread is in good shape.
Report Suspicious Driving Behavior Immediately
As soon as you spot another car driving erratically, you should immediately call the police with the location of the incident and the make, model and color of the car. If you’re lucky enough to spot the license plate, make a note of it as well. Hopefully, the police will be able to remove the dangerous driver from the road before they injure themselves or others.
Don’t Tolerate Drunk Driving In Those Around You
Do whatever you can to keep people off the road when you know they’re intoxicated, as it’s not just a matter of saving that person’s life. What if your parents, your siblings, or your friends are out there? Do you really want them on the roads with one more drunk driver?
Support Tougher Drunk Driving Legislation
Over the past 20 years, the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities has steadily declined. A combination of factors such as zero tolerance laws, sobriety checkpoints, educational campaigns, and tougher DUI penalties have contributed to this relative success. However, there is clearly more to be done. You can help by supporting legislation and politicians that are in favor of tougher penalties for DUI violations.
I’ve been asked this question numerous times. And the answer is, “It depends.” But first, let’s clarify the question.
What most people intend to ask is if it is legal to make a left turn onto a one-way street with traffic heading to the left after having come to a complete stop at a red light. The answer, in most cases, is “Yes, this is a legal maneuver.”
According to a 2003 pamphlet issued by AAA, the following locations prohibit a left turn on red:
Obviously, if there is a red left-turn arrow, a left turn is expressly prohibited.
Unfortunately, I do not know of which states make a distinction. To be 100% safe, I suggest only making a left turn on red when the street you’re on is also a one-way street.]]>
You may experience raw fear and panic. What if they get into an accident? What if one of their friends gets into an accident and my child is in the car? What if my son rear-ends some jerk who claims whiplash and sues us? What if the car breaks down in the middle of the highway?
Since you can’t chauffeur your child for the rest of their life, you must come to terms with the fact that your teen needs to become a responsible adult driver. And the only way to deal with this fear is to equip your teen with the skills, knowledge and experience of a safe driver.
Remember that another side effect of creating a safe, smart, and skillful teenage driver is that one day they can drive themselves to all of their activities. Maybe they can also drive their little brothers and sisters to their activities as well!
Driving is a skill that must be thoroughly practiced in order to be mastered. There is no substitute for time behind the wheel. That’s why we have created a series of benchmarks that will help guide you through a typical six month learning process. Obviously, these articles are just an outline and cannot replace the instruction of a professional driving school.
The most important thing to remember is that your teen is about to embark on learning the most dangerous activity they’ll probably ever engage in. Take it seriously and so will they. And don’t sign off on letting your teen have the keys to the family car until they’ve proven themselves.
While learning to walk, toddlers fall down hundreds, if not thousands of times. Each time they fall, they’re learning vital information that will help them do better on their next attempt. Luckily, these mistakes usually do not have disastrous consequences. Perhaps there’ll be some crying and a few bumps and bruises, but nothing life-threatening. Unfortunately, when learning to drive, the stakes are much higher.
A right-of-way mistake on the highway could cause a fatal crash. So, you must start your training with small bits of information in a safe environment. As each skill is mastered, add increasing levels of complexity, distraction, and even danger.
Yes, danger. Driving is a dangerous activity. Eventually, you must expose your teen to nearly every driving scenario so that they will be ready to handle it on their own. If you don’t, you’re doing them a disservice.
This takes time. There is no way to speed this process up or to take shortcuts. You and your teen must put in the practice time. The purpose of these lessons is to make that time productive, safe, and amicable.
You cannot turn your teen loose on the open roads just because they turn 16. Obviously, as a parent, you don’t want to withhold this privilege from your child.
So, lay down the ground rules during the first practice. Explain the entirety of the practice schedule and that you expect them to master a list of tasks before you’ll let them drive on their own.
Driving is a monumental responsibility and your teen is looking forward to learning. Practice with a purpose, have fun, and be safe.
Now, on to your first behind-the-wheel lesson!]]>
Now, had I been in that intersection, we would have been in a serious car wreck. And yes, in the eyes of the law, we would not have violated any traffic rules. The pickup truck had run a red light. They were the ones at fault. But, is that really any consolation for a major, potentially fatal car accident? I don’t think so.
In a nutshell, this is really what defensive driving is all about: assuming that someone else is going to make a mistake and being prepared for those mistakes.
Here are two other common scenarios where being right could end up being the wrong move.
You and a car to your left arrive at the four-way stop at the same time. You have the right of way. But, the other car performs a rolling stop and accelerates quickly through the intersection without waiting for you. If you aren’t paying attention to their actions, you could easily end up in a collision.
Cars exiting the highway have the right-of-way over cars entering it. Does every other car on the road know and obey this rule? Probably not. So, if you’re attempting to leave a freeway via a weave lane, be wary of cars using the weave lane to enter the road. Again, you have the right of way, but that doesn’t mean other cars will yield it to you.
When it comes to driving, being safe is more important being right. And in today’s driving environment, being “in the right” does not necessarily mean you’re safe.]]>
1. Blinker Blindness: Your turn signals are not part of your portable psychedelic lightshow. They are solely to be used when you intend to make a turn or enter a road. Example: At a 4-way stop, you reach the intersection at the exact same time as the car across from you. Since neither of you have your turn signal activated, you continue straight (assuming they’ll do the same). All of a sudden, this moron makes a left turn and you almost crash into him. Don’t be that guy. A corollary to this is the person who forgets to turn their blinker off after making the lane change. This confuses every driver around you.
2. Lane Sharing: White dashed lines on the roadway indicate the separation of lanes. Do not straddle lane lines for longer than is necessary to change lanes. If you must occupy two lanes to avoid hitting something, then do so quickly and shift back into your single lane as soon as possible.
3. Boxing Other Cars In: There is nothing worse than coming out to your car to find it “boxed in” by other cars on the curb. If a curb parking spot does not have a two foot margin on the front and rear, then you shouldn’t park there. By inching up to the cars around you, you’re leaving them with no room to get out. This is sure to infuriate other drivers.
4. Slow-poke Driving: Highways have a slow lane and a fast lane. If you are a slow driver, then please stay in the right-most lane (which is usually the slow lane). Do not drive in the fast/passing lane for any reason other than to perform a pass. Clogging up a faster lane is sure to send other drivers into a fit. Simply move over and let the crazy speedsters pass.
5. Tailgating: Tailgating is one of the most annoying driving habits. Don’t do it, ever. It frustrates other drivers and will not get you to your destination any faster. Tailgating a car to try to force them to move over can result in a road-rage incident or a crash. If you hit someone from behind, it’s always your fault for following too closely. So, think about the dangerous and wallet-shrinking consequences of tailgating before you do it.
6. Being a Portable Snow Dispersal Unit: After a snow storm, wipe off any snow that has collected on top of your car, on each window (front, back, and sides), as well as over the headlights and tail lights. If you leave this snow in place, it can blow off while driving and blind the person behind you.
7. Driving with One Foot On Each Pedal: Unless you have a manual transmission car, driving is performed solely with your right foot. Riding the brake confuses other drivers because your brake lights are illuminated, but you’re not slowing down.
8. Poor Stop Light Etiquette: I see this often; the person who stops about 3 feet past the white line at stop lights. Not only can you end up blocking the intersection and get hit by cross-traffic, but you’re not allowing any room for pedestrians to cross safely.
9. Being a Pace Car: This usually only occurs on rural 2-lane highways. If you are driving alongside another car at the same speed, you are blocking all traffic from being able to pass. The right lane is meant for slower cars, therefore only use the left lane when passing.
10. Excessive Braking: Have you ever been in heavy traffic when the car in front of you keeps slamming on his breaks to avoid hitting the car in front of him? Or, when a car keeps tapping his breaks every minute for no apparent reason? Not only is this annoying, but it’s confusing to drivers around you. If you do this for an extended period of time, a “crying wolf” syndrome could occur. Other drivers may not react to your brake lights until it’s too late.
Obviously, we all have our own pet peeves when it comes to driving. The golden rule applies both in Kindergarten classrooms as well as on the open road. Acknowledging other drivers around you and being courteous to them is always a good habit to practice.]]>
1. Not tailgating. Always keep at least one car length per ten miles per hour from the car in front of you. This rule is not only a courteous one, but a safe one as well.
2. Be mindful of your lights. When on small rural streets with few streetlights, remember to turn off your high beams whenever a car approaches from the oncoming lane. Leaving your brights on can partially blind the driver and cause an accident.
3. Help other cars merge. Cars attempting to merge onto a highway are required to yield to the cars already on the highway, but that doesn’t mean you should make things difficult for them if you have the room to get over safely.
4. Keep the left lane clear. The farthest left lane of the highway is intended for passing only. Unless there’s an emergency, do not drive in this lane for extended periods of time. Try not to stay in this lane any longer than necessary so as to not annoy other drivers who wish to use it for passing.
5. Come to a complete stop. If approaching a stop sign, the law says to stop for 3 seconds before proceeding. The “rolling stop” is illegal and annoying to other drivers and pedestrians.
6. Keep your music at a normal level. Don’t be that driver who has their stereo turned up so loud that five cars behind you can hear it. This can cause a distraction and possibly an accident, not to mention that it’s incredibly annoying. If it’s a beautiful day and your windows are down, other drivers will appreciate being able to hear themselves think.
7. Be a good parking neighbor. Your car only requires one parking spot, so please use just one. If parking on a street curb, please pull up as close to the car in front of you without boxing them in. When parking in a parking lot, check to make sure you are parked between the two white lines indicating your individual spot. Make sure that the cars on either side of yours have ample room for the driver and passenger to get into their cars.
8. Keep your car maintained. No one likes to be stuck behind a car expelling a dark smelly cloud of exhaust fumes from its tailpipe. It’s disgusting and illegal. If your car begins to have this problem, get it repaired ASAP. No one wants to breath that in, including you.
9. Strap that mattress down. If you are carrying anything with flight potential in your truck bed, strap it down securely before driving. A 2004 report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study found that more than 25,000 accidents a year are caused by litter that is dumped by motorists or falls out of vehicles. If your king-sized mattress is larger than your car, go rent a U-Haul. No one likes to drive behind the 2-door sedan whose driver has an arm out the window trying to hold that Sealy down.
10. Don’t block the intersection. One of the biggest pet peeves for drivers is not being able to go at a green light because the cross traffic is blocking the intersection. If traffic is jammed and your light is green, don’t proceed unless you can make it completely through the intersection.]]>
[Please note that this is NOT safe, and should not be done while driving a vehicle.]
While this may seem like second nature to you, your teenager has no clue how to handle multitasking to this extreme. Growing up, your children see you doing this on a daily basis, therefore deeming this behavior as normal. The minute they get behind the wheel though, they feel that they can handle multi-tasking as well. Obviously they have not had the same amount of practice you have which can prove to be a difficult task.
While I do not condone these types of distractions when driving, it’s important to understand that not all distractions are 100% negative. Learning to pay attention to your surroundings while holding a conversation with fellow passengers can be a good concept to learn.
Given time to practice, your teenager will slowly be able to take on multiple tasks at once, but don’t rush it. When you take your teen out on their first few driving lessons, make sure to keep the radio off and talk in a calm tone. You don’t want to overwhelm your teenager with distracting sounds that can affect his or her driving. Slowly incorporate other factors into the driving lessons, beginning with quiet background noise from the radio. Eventually move onto holding full conversations with them. This will introduce them to all types of distractions that can occur while driving.
Once your teen has obtained their driver’s license, restrict them from having too many passengers in the car at once. Some states have a 3-month rule mandating that for the first 3 months after obtaining a driver’s license, passengers under 20 years of age without a license are not allowed in the car.
If your state does not have this law in place, make it a personal rule for your teenage driver. Not allowing any other passengers in the car will help your teen get comfortable with driving without any major distractions.
There will always be some level of distraction when learning to drive, however, introducing these distractions into your teen’s driving lessons will be one of the most valuable learning skills you can teach.]]>