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A harsh lesson for one Offutt Airman

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Beyond the career fallout from DUI, there are financial and personal costs to consider. One Offutt Airman who received a DUI agreed to share his story in the hope others will see how easy it is to make a bad decision, and the lifetime of costs associated with a bad choice.

The scenario
"I was out drinking, waiting for some friends who were supposed to meet me," the Airman said. "The friends I was supposed to meet never showed up, and the next thing I knew, it was after 2 a.m. My cell phone battery died and I was stranded in the parking lot," he said. So he made the choice to get behind the wheel and drive home.

"I got pulled over for speeding ... I was doing 42 in a 35 mph zone. Next thing I know, I'm being arrested for DUI. I spent about two hours in lock-up before being bailed out," he said.

Consequences
As a result of his decision to drive while impaired, the Airman had to participate in the Sarpy County Diversion Program, which cost him $500. Getting his vehicle out of impound was another $100. His driver's license was suspended; reissue of the license was $125. Add a considerable cost increase for insurance premiums and the loss of pay after his demotion from staff sergeant to senior airman, and it's easy to see how the monetary costs add up.

"During the Diversion Program, I was randomly tested for alcohol for six months, during which time I was prohibited from drinking any alcohol, to include mouthwash or any medication with alcohol in it," he said. "I also had to attend two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week for six months."

In addition to his demotion, he received 30 days additional duty and he had to take part in the Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Prevention and Treatment program.

As costly as his demotion and fines may have been, they weren't the most painful part of the experience, he said.
"My DUI also affected my divorce case," said the Airman. "The judge awarded my ex-wife full custody of our son."

This Airman hopes his story will help others make positive choices when it comes to drinking.

For people thinking about getting behind the wheel after drinking, his advice is simple - "Don't do it for any reason. If you plan on going out with friends, make sure you have a designated driver or someone who can pick everyone up later in the evening.

"You may not get caught every time you drive under the influence, but eventually you will get caught, and it's not worth your career."