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  • Writer's pictureCheyanne Dunn

My Most Expensive Life Lesson

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

The summer after my first semester of college, a friend of mine who worked as a shot girl at a local bar mentioned to me that they were hiring for the summer which I happened to be staying at school for. I did need to make money and decided that this was a fun way to make that happen. I met with the manager of the bar and was hired immediately. After working there for about a month, which was filled with lots of weird and blurry nights, the bar threw an all-white party, meaning everyone had to wear all white. It was one of those things college bars to do get people to come there instead of the handful of other places in the area.

Rather than just one shot girl, they called my friend and I both in to cover the extra people they figured would be there. The night started out normal, a bunch of our friends came to hangout and we were pretty busy. Then while I was trying to move through the crowd, someone knocked the tray of tequila shots out of my hand and it fell everywhere. The security guard who saw tried to find the kid but he was long gone. When I went to explain to the manager what happened, he said he would take it out of my tips even though it wasn’t my fault. It was disappointing but I took a new tray and went back out to try and make up for it.

A while later, I realized that I hadn’t seen my friend who was supposed to be working with me in quite some time. I walked around trying to see if she was just busy, but she was nowhere to be found. One of the bartenders then pointed out to me that she was in the DJ booth with a bottle of vodka giving out free shots and also taking many herself. She was extremely intoxicated, so our manager removed her from the DJ booth and put her in the office with some water to try and sober her up. The night was coming to a close, so the manager decided that he would close me out early and asked me to take my friend home. I made almost no money, due to the tray that fell, so I agreed and angrily left with my friend in tow.

We arrived at her apartment but she could barely walk so I parked and helped her up the stairs and into bed. Once she seemed settled, I left to get myself home. I considered staying over, but who would want to deal with that hungover mess in the morning? Not me, that’s for sure. About two minutes from my house, I remembered that my gas light had been on for quite some time but it was almost 3 am at this point. I thought I saw an open gas station, so I attempted to cross lanes and pull in, but before I even got to the turn lane, I realized that it was closed, so I switched back into my original lane and headed for my apartment. Immediately, lights went on behind me and I was being pulled over.

I pulled to the side and rolled down my window, as the cop approached, I prepared myself with my ID and registration. He asked me if I knew why I was being pulled over, I replied that I had switched lanes a few times and tried to explain why, but before I could even get the words out he asked me to step out of the car. Once outside, he asked me if I had been drinking, I said no, I had been at work. He asked why I smelled like tequila but while I was trying to explain, he cut me off again and said he didn’t believe me. (I later found out this guy was known for being an ass hole who had arrested a bunch of kids for DUI’s that had their charges dropped completely or gotten lesser charges.) He asked me to blow in a breathalyzer which I refused because I watch TV and know what to do here. He proceeded to make me do a field sobriety test. I was in a short dress and heels, so I asked if I could remove my shoes, seeing as I couldn’t walk in them sober. He said once with the shoes and then I could go again without. So, I did as he asked, walked a straight line, touched my nose, counted backwards from 100, whatever he threw at me.

Before I knew it, I was being handcuffed and my car was being searched. They found a half empty bottle of wine under the seat in the back, which I honestly had no idea was there to begin with. They also found a prescription bottle that I kept my Adderall in, which I was legally prescribed, but they claimed it had weed residue on it, which it definitely did not. I tried to explain myself but this guy didn’t care. Another officer took me aside and told me to calm down while helping me blow my nose because my hands were cuffed. They towed my car and I was off to jail.

They placed me in a holding cell for about 2 hours while processing me. I asked if I could make a call soon because my parents were seven hours away, but they denied me until I was processed. Once I was fingerprinted and the mugshot was taken, they allowed me to make calls. The interesting thing about making a call from jail is that it pretty much breaks the ice for you. My dad has told me that when he answered the phone it prompted him with, “You are receiving a collect call from Leon County Jail, from” and my name. He answered in a panic and we talked while my mom called a lawyer. At one point, they placed another woman in the cell with me but after she threatened to attack me, they allowed me to stay in another cell. I don’t know why or how but I stayed awake the entire time I was in there.

While I know there is nothing funny about drinking and driving or getting arrested, one pretty funny thing came out of this, my mugshot. I couldn't make this up if I wanted to. The lady taking my picture literally said, “Oh come on hunny, give me a smile.” Thus, the smirking mugshot.

Several hours later, I was released and a friend of mine came to pick me up. I had told my parents not to come because I was going to drive home the next week anyway for a break from school. I went to meet with a lawyer to get things sorted out. After telling him my side of the story, he said he would request a copy of the tape of my sobriety test. My hearing was in a month and he told me not to worry and go about my life.

When I returned from my trip home, the lawyer called me in for a meeting. He had received the tape of my field test and the results. Apparently, I passed the sobriety test but because I was underage, smelled like tequila and there was wine in my car they had to arrest me. The good news that was because I didn’t blow, this could get dropped to a reckless driving charge. Finally, all my TV binge watching comes to use.

My punishment was driving school, no license for one year, 150 hours of community service and monthly drug and alcohol testing. All in all, not terrible. I was given a hardship license for school and work purposes, which was helpful. I was assigned to community service at a local Goodwill, working in the back, which is a whole other story for another time. One year later when all my hours and required work for the court was completed, I was free. No more Goodwill for 8 hours a day, no more drug and alcohol check-ins and finally my license back.

During my year of work, I punished myself a lot. I didn’t go out much or spend time with friends. All of my free time went to finishing my community service hours and doing school work. In the end, it was a lesson I needed to learn. Since this arrest, I have never driven drunk or gotten into a car with a person who is intoxicated. Looking back, I’m almost glad this happened to me, I mean obviously, this was a terrible way to learn this lesson, and expensive, very expensive, but all in all it was something I needed to learn.


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