My friends and I sometimes go out drinking. Sometimes, we drink too much. We try to be safe, but I guess we don’t always make the best decisions. And, recently, my friend made a really bad one. We were at a party at a mutual friend’s house, and my buddy decided he wanted to leave. He was driving home when he got pulled over. The police charged him with a DUI.
My friend is really freaking out, as I guess he should. He doesn’t have a lot of supportive family members to help him out, and he’s not sure what to do. He doesn’t have a lawyer or anything. I know he messed up, but what should I tell him? What should he do? I don’t want him to go to jail.
We’re sorry to hear about your friend’s poor choice. You’re right to be worried about him, because he faces serious legal consequences in addition to the personal and health tolls he’s taking on himself with his poor habits. Your friend needs a lawyer, and you both need to reconsider your drinking habits and the decisions you make.
A DUI is a very serious charge. And it should be, as drunk driving is a serious problem in our country. Drinking destroys our ability to safely operate a vehicle, and that can result in deadly accidents. More than 10,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes every year. Your friend is lucky to be alive. Unfortunately, lots of people choose to ignore these terrible risks and get behind the wheel drunk anyway. While drunk driving rates are declining, thousands of Americans still make the choice to be irresponsible.
You and your friend should both take time to seriously reconsider your drinking habits and the lifestyle they’re leading you toward. But right now, your friend also needs to protect his legal rights. In our country, each of us has certain rights in a criminal proceeding. But your friend will need a lawyer if he is going to make sure that his rights are protected and used to their fullest extent.
Your friend should get a lawyer immediately, before he does anything else related to his case. A DUI defense lawyer in your area will be familiar with the relevant laws and procedures that your friend will be dealing with. Your friend’s lawyer will be able to help him with plea bargains, courtroom trials, and sentencing hearings, among other things.
Meanwhile, hopefully you and your friend can both learn from this upsetting experience. Drinking is not good for you, and excessive drinking is worse. Drunk driving is extremely dangerous, and you should always have a plan for getting home when you go out to a party or a bar. And of course, this plan should not include driving yourself.
It is possible that your friend’s problems with drinking — and yours — go beyond simple bad decisions. Alcohol can be addictive. A startling number of Americans struggle with alcoholism, and the symptoms of alcohol dependence include inhibited decision-making skills, much like the decision that your friend made. If you or your friend think you may have a drinking problem, you should seek help from experts in mental health and substance abuse. Therapy and treatment could help you reclaim your life.
Hopefully, your friend will get quality legal representation, so he’ll be able to protect his reputation and his future as much as possible. Just remember that his future also depends on the actions he takes after the dust has settled from this case — just as your own future depends on your own actions.