I recently saw a survey that our base did that claimed that excessive drinking was not a problem around here. Might I remind you, we are in the middle of nowhere. There are people in this state who have gotten upwards of 14 DUI’s. There is no 3-strikes law here. Granted, most people are smart enough to avoid them but there are plenty of them that aren’t.
We have a DUI board as you exit the base that tells you when the last DUI was and which squadron is responsible for it. The person who received the DUI generally has to dress up with their blues and change the number every day until someone else gets one. Now, I know what you’re thinking, geez, s/he must be up there for a long time… wrong. It’s usually every 10-20 days a new one shows up. Before you go the “public shaming” is wrong route, let me just tell you a story. We got a new commander this year and he took the board down. It was down for probably about 2 months before the stupid thing went back up again. I’ve seen them at other bases and they seriously have some fantastic numbers on them (120 days, etc). We are not that fantastic around here. We have lots of airman who cannot behave themselves in the face of alcohol and it’s not just restricted to the lower ranks, it’s all the way up.
Recently, I found out one of our old guys who’s PCS’d out got a DUI. We think he screwed up big time, but no one is surprised. While we don’t know what his consequences are since he’s still in the military, we can venture to guess that he’ll be losing his staff-select spot that he earned this year. He’ll probably get an Article 15 and could potentially get kicked out of the military. The last one I knew that got a DUI got separated and it happened so quickly that his dad have to fly up here to come get him because he couldn’t drive himself out of the state. It’s no joking matter. I personally have very little respect or sympathy for people who get arrested while drinking. I call them in. I’m not ashamed of it. I’d prefer to make it home than end up dead on the side of the road because some jerk wrecked his car and I was behind him and couldn’t avoid the accident. I will never attend the funeral of a drunk driver, regardless of how close it comes to my own family.
On the other hand, I did get a little creative while searching the internet because I know the Phoenix area is a little special when it comes to drunk drivers and fun stuff like that. I also know that the new “show me your papers” law will impact how things are handled in the area. If you know much about Phoenix, AZ or at least know who Sheriff Joe Arpaio is, then you may know that it’s a little tougher than normal (I don’t like him, don’t get me started). Anyway, apparently there are plenty of lawyers who will be more than happy to handle your case and try to make sure that you don’t end up over-prosecuted. All you have to do is Google dui attorney in phoenix.. or wherever you end up having to deal with it.
It’s expensive, it’s life-altering, and it’s a really stupid idea. Just call for a ride or I just may be that car that drives by while you’re changing your number on the DUI board, laughing my tail off.