Watch what you drink! Remember those charts you saw when you got your driver’s license telling you how many drinks you can have based on your weight? You should know that these guidelines can get you in trouble. People’s metabolisms process alcohol differently, so you should keep your BAC (blood alcohol content) far below the maximum legal limit. Of course, this will also help keep you and your passengers safe.
If you use a personal alcohol breath tester to check your levels be aware they are not always accurate. These devices may make great gifts and passing them around at a party may remind people to drink responsibly. Just remember you are not simply trying to be under the limit to avoid arrest but under the margin of police error and not under suspicion of DUI.
Remember that your BAC will continue to rise after you stop drinking. Your BAC may drop about .015 per hour after it peaks. The measure of alcohol may be also compounded by the alcohol residue in your mouth and throat. And other factors could involve having some other residue in your mouth, having excess acid in your stomach and natural amount of alcohol in your system for other reasons such as a Keto diet.
If you are under 21, remember that California has a zero-tolerance law. If you are under the age of 21, and you drive with any detectable alcohol in your system. You do not need to be impaired or “under the influence”. You will face a mandatory one-year suspension of your license.
Use Uber or other rideshare companies to get to your holiday parties. Please don’t get in your car after drinking! Pick a designated driver or call a cab or rideshare company.
KQED recently reported on an effort to waive debt and local court fees (not all fees) on criminal convictions. It turns out that most of these fees are not collected and there is a sense that a path to the straight and narrow should not involve endless debt. Currently there is more than $15.5 million piling up as debt and that is only for the last 6 years recorded.
The city collects about $1M per year, which is just a small percentage. These fees are not a deterrent but rather a reimbursement for local administrative tasks that some argue should be covered in a general budget. The kinds of fees at issue include: electronic monitoring, fees for being booked in to jail, monthly probation department fees or restitution collection fees. They do not include, for example, fines or restitution.
At this point, over 20,000 people owe money on top of their fines, and this prevents such people from avoiding a warrant or getting their record cleared.
How many people have debt from all these fines and fees? 20,000 people owe nearly $16MM in fees.
On February 6, 2018, the issue was raised by Board of Supervisors president (Mayoral Candidate) London Breed, who announced this at a press conference:
“These are fees that have created barriers to reentry just when people are looking to turn their lives around. This has disproportionately affected many communities of color for decades. That contributes to the never ending cycle of poverty…”
According to the piece, the measure is likely to pass. If it does, it will wipe out debt that exists and cancel certain fees moving forward. In the face of violations of probation (VOPs)and because people with criminal convictions need to clear their record to gain employment and move forward, the extreme debt the stats show has social costs. It is best not to set people up for failure.