To give you an exact date, it was May 28th, 2011. It was around 2 or 3 in the morning. I had been at one of my sorority sister’s houses for a party. It was her little’s birthday and her little was in my pledge class and was a very good friend of mine, so of course I was there. I had a few beers and ripped quite a few shots. It was nothing more than I would normally drink, so I figured I was still good to go. A friend asked if I could take her somewhere because everyone else was hammered and stumbling. Being that I’m good friend, I agreed without any hesitation whatsoever. I thought I was good to go.

I backed out of the driveway, but I don’t remember driving down the street or out of the apartment complex. At the end of the apartment complex, there was a light. It was red, so I stopped. When it turned green, I started to make my left turn into the closest lane. It was a two-lane highway. As soon as I made my turn, I felt the car shift and heard a loud popping noise. My friend, sitting in the passenger seat, looked at me. This is when I realized I was drunk. She reached for my arm and said, “Lauren, a car just hit us. We just got into an accident.”

My brain couldn’t process what was happening fast enough. My destination was literally a mile down the road, how could that have happened so quickly? There was glass everywhere. I knew it was wrong, but I thought that if I could get to where I was supposed to be going then I would be ok. So I did. We pulled into the parking lot of where she wanted to go. I jumped out of my car to see what happened. The entire passenger side of my car, my beautiful, red Mustang convertible, was smashed in. My friend started to try to open the door; she struggled for a minute then got it open. To this day, I wish she wouldn’t have, but it’s not like anything was going to fix my car. She immediately called one of my sisters who lived down the street. Within what felt like seconds, three of my sisters were there. One grabbed my insurance information and my phone, one ran into a nearby gas station to get water, and the other one grabbed me. It was my pledge sister. It was her birthday and I ruined it. She kept saying, “Why would you drink and drive? Why didn’t you tell someone you were leaving?” I just kept crying, not knowing what to say.

The police showed up. One cop performed a field sobriety test on me while the other met up with the car that was in the accident. All my sisters could do was stand and watch as I failed it miserably. Then I got arrested. He cuffed me and put me in the car. He let me sit shotgun, which everyone still thinks is odd. On the way to jail, he told me that he appreciated me being so honest. I didn’t ever think to be anything but. When we got to jail, I did a breathalyzer and blew a .18. The cop was literally stunned that I blew that number, got behind the wheel, and I was sitting there having a normal conversation with him. Then he put me in jail and I sat there for the next 14 hours wondering if I’d ever get out.

It’s now July 2012. In the past year, I’ve paid $2,500 for an attorney to fight for me in court. I was charged with a DUI and a hit and run. The hit and run was charged incorrectly, so they said if I pled guilty to the DUI then they would lower my BAC to a .08 and drop the hit and run. So I did. Before court though, I had to pay $2,300 for my bail, $7,000 for drug and alcohol classes required by the state, over $400 in taxi services to get to work and everywhere else I needed to go. To get my totaled car out of the impound was $235, but of course it was a waste because the insurance company wouldn’t cover getting my car fixed, so we sold it for a few hundred dollars, then had to buy a new one, which was another $14,500. Before I could drive my car, I had to get my license reinstated, which was another $100. My college also required that I take a $100 alcohol class. There are a few things that I didn’t have to do because I was doing something similar, or I just got a good deal on it because I knew someone.

Besides all of the costs of the DUI and a new car though, I’m still paying for it. I’m now an “assigned risk” to my car insurance company. The insurance company I had at the time of the accident didn’t drop me, because I was on my parents policy, but my mom said they suggested that my parents take me off the account. So basically, they were dropping me but in a nice way. I was finally able to find an insurance company that would take me, so I’m paying $2,000 every six months to drive. There are also other random costs of things here and there that were a result of the DUI, but I basically paid around $30,000.

The reason why I decided to write about this and put it out in the open is because I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this. I know people will, and my story isn’t going to change anything. But if I can help at least one person to make a better choice than I did, then I’m happy. Personally, my accident was by no means the first time I drove drunk. And I know plenty of other people that drive drunk frequently, with or without consequences.

When you see commercials that say “DUI: You can’t afford it,” believe me, you can’t. If it weren’t for my family being able to help me out, I never would’ve gotten through everything. I paid more for a DUI than I have for the past two years of college put together. The moral of the story is obviously don’t drink and drive. There is NOTHING wrong with taking turns being a designated driver with your friend. Also, iPhone’s have a free app called “Taxi Magic.” Just type in where you are and it will find nearby taxi services for you. If you’re drinking, it’s perfect. Trust me, I’ve learned to abuse that app. It’s much easier to pay $50 for a taxi than $30,000 for a DUI. So next time your out with your friends, and you or someone with you tries to drive, check yourself before you wreck yourself.

What do you think?

Your turn! Have you ever dealt with something like this? More importantly, have you been able to help prevent something like this? Put your comments in the box below.


  1. avatar irina says:

    “so we sold it for a few hundred dollars, then had to buy a new one, which was another $14,500”

    Are you effing kidding me? You bought a $14,500 car? That’s about a year of college for me. And you said your DUI cost you about 30,000 bucks, yet half of it was getting a new car. When I got my first car, it was a 2000 toyota corolla, great gas mileage, and it only cost me $2,200 bucks. I mean obviously, you had to pay for a lot of other things because of your DUI but I have a hard time feeling sorry for your costs because half of them was just a replacement car.

    • avatar Lauren says:

      Just to clarify, I never wrote this because I need anyone’s sympathy, so I’m not particularly concerned you don’t “have a hard time feeling sorry.” Yes, I did buy a fairly expensive car. But mine is also 7 years newer than yours and also probably has a lot let mileage. A very good deal came up on a relatively new, excellent condition car so I wasn’t going to pass it up. The car I’m driving now will last me a lot longer than if I bought a junk car for only a few thousand. And being that I was also in an accident made me want to find the safest car for my money. So that’s all well and good that you saved some money on your car, but I got a good deal on a newer model, with less mileage, that’s in excellent condition, and also passed with 5 star crash test ratings on more recent tests than yours probably took.

      Thanks for your comment, but no thanks. I posted this so that it may prevent someone from getting behind the wheel drunk and getting killed or killing someone else. I didn’t posted it for sympathy or for people to rudely comment on something they don’t understand.

      • avatar JC says:

        Thank you for sharing this Lauren. This takes a lot of guts to write and I hope a lot of people take notice.

        I’m with you, spending more money for a safer car. My first car was just under $10,000, which I considered expensive, but has airbags and advanced braking systems in place. It’s worth spending the extra money to be safe.
        And so if you had bought a cheaper car, say $3000. That’s still nearly $19,000. Still a hell of a lot of money.

        I empathize with your situation. And I really do hope this will make people realise that a DUI is way more involved than what TV shows make it look like. Thank you.

      • avatar Holly says:

        Lauren, I think YOU are the rude one. Irina has a valid point – and such an expensive car is probably contributing to the cost of your insurance.

        Irina probably won’t crash her car because she doesn’t drive drunk so all the things you boasted about don’t really matter.

        I also think it’s good that you don’t expect sympathy; not only did you risk other people’s lives (the passenger in your car and the person driving the other car, just to mention two!) you moan about the costs but you don’t once mention the risks you posed to people when you made your stupid decision.

        I’m in shock they let you have your license back. You’re not sorry you drove drunk – you’re sorry you got caught and had to spend a lot of money.

  2. avatar Ponpon says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, it must be quite a traumatizing event for you. My friend got a DUI on my birthday for wanting to get me home safe, but it wasn’t worth getting his license suspended and etc. I hope many people remember this when they drink, people always somehow think they can get away with it. You were very lucky in this case, since you didn’t hit a pedestrian or anything, but imagine if you did.. hope everyone takes this matter seriously!

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