On a Thursday night in July 2010, my wife and I decided to go to the movie theater to see Twilight. Since we arrived early, we decided to get some drinks at a restaurant near the theater. It took longer than expected, so we missed our movie and changed our plans. We wanted to continue to drink, so we drove to a bar close to our home. I didnâ€™t get hammered. I only had about four or five drinks.
Ironically, I didnâ€™t get pulled over while I was driving home from the bar. Instead, it happened a couple of hours later on my way home from picking up pizza. The police officer originally stopped me for speeding. When he asked me if I had anything to drink, I was honest with him. I really didnâ€™t think I drank enough to blow over the limit. But I did â€” just barely. The next thing I know, I was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence.
Although this happened almost two years ago, Iâ€™m still dealing with the consequences. It happened off base, so I didnâ€™t tell anyone. I paid more than $5,000 in attorney fees and kept stressing about what would happen if the Air Force found out. Well, a year-and-a-half later, they did.
In December 2011, my case was turned over to the Air Force. The civilian court thought this was a better alternative than to keep pushing my court date back. I was a staff sergeant, but not anymore.
In addition to being demoted and losing pay, I received an Article 15 and was placed on a control roster. The control roster prevented me from testing for staff sergeant, which could put me at risk for high-year tenure. My license got suspended on base for a year, which is a huge inconvenience. I had to take my son out of the child development center since I wasnâ€™t allowed to drive him there.
If I could go back and do things differently, I would have informed my chain of command from the get-go. Better yet, I would have skipped the drinks and gone to see the movie.
I really hope others can learn from my mistake instead of having to learn from their own. Please donâ€™t drink and drive â€” not even just one.