Tuesday, February 19, 2013


A week ago from yesterday, I reported to the Cook County Courthouse, located in the Daley Center (ironically it's my favorite high rise in the Loop, yet also a very depressing place). The reason for my appearance was to wrap up my criminal case, i.e. from my 2010 DUI. 

Although I had done everything they asked me to do, paid all my fines and have since stayed out of trouble, I was still a nervous wreck. I couldn't eat because I was so nauseous, nor did I sleep for more than an a few restless hours the night before. 

But I put my "fancy" clothes on (but not a tie - fuck that) and made my way down to the Loop, arriving 45 minutes early. In the cavernous hallway on the 4th floor, I sat on a concrete bench and tried to read the newspaper, but in reality I was observing the others. 

Cops, lawyers, defendants, etc. After a littler over 35 minutes my name was called. Nerves fully alive, I walked up to the judge's bench. After reading through the paperwork in front of him, he simply said: "you are done, do not let me see you in this courtroom again, you are free to go". My response: "thank you, your honor". 

That was it. 2+ years of dealing with the single worst incident on my life, and it was over just like that. In a state of mild shock I did not go out for celebratory drinks; instead I took the train home and watched TV alone. T did come over later, and I made us dinner, which was great, but the whole day was anti-climatic, to say the least. 

Even after a week's time had passed, it hasn't really sunk in. Or maybe it has and I though I would feel differently, like I can now do anything I want after being done with the legal system. Just to reiterate all the things I had to do/pay for, here's recap:

-Hire a lawyer: $1,500
-Evaluation with a substance abuse consular: $125
-Get my brother's car out of the impound lot: $1,200
-Court fees: $1,500
-Attend a Victim Impact Panel: $75
-75 hours of outpatient group therapy: $2,000
-Meet my case worker once a month for 2 years: $1,200 (yes, they charge for that)
-3 urine tests: $150

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but you get the point. It's a lot of money and more importantly time to get a situation like this resolved. I never thought it would be over, and although it is, I still think to myself many, many times a day how lucky I am to be alive and, also more importantly, that I didn't injure anyone else. Had I done so, I don't know how I could/would live with myself. 

So...LESSON LEARNED. Hopefully others can learn from my experience. I truly hope no one has to go through the process I just outlined. And the funny thing is, I consider myself lucky. Things happen for a reason and although I regret the decision I made to drive drunk that fateful night, I did meet a lot of great people along the way. And I'll never, ever again make the same mistake. 


Hil said...

I am glad for you that this chapter is over in your life. Love you hon.

PCH said...

Seeing the financial consequences of your decision is really hitting home with me. I drive when I shouldn't too often and while I know the loss of $$ isn't the biggest consequence of drunk driving it does make it somehow more relatable. Anyhow, I'm happy to hear you're legally over it and thanks for the wake up call.

j.lee said...

Been reading your blog for a few years. Needless to say, i'm happy your ordeal is over. My older brother went thru the same thing.


ex-roomie said...