DUI Penalties – Jail Time

You will have your fingerprints and mug shot taken. Valuables and sums over 5-10 dollars will be placed in a property envelope for retrieval upon release. Your belt and shoelaces may also be confiscated temporarily.

The smoking privilege which has been denied to you during the breath test will be lifted once you are escorted to the large holding tank. It contains perhaps one wall bench, and a very low toilet which is seatless. Sometimes there is a lack of toilet tissue, and if you had a sudden attack of diarrhea or the ordinary urge to have a bowel movement, you would have to overcome any feelings of embarrassment as others looked on; solve the problem of toilet height, lack of seat, and if you could manage all that—pray for a sufficient amount of tissue at hand.

You’ve got to have your own dime if you want to make the one phone call each prisoner is entitled to. If you don’t have one, or can’t get change of a dollar, you’ve got a problem. The bench is usually occupied by someone passed out or by others trying to get comfortable in a sitting position so they can snooze. Practically everyone is either lying or sitting on the floor, and if you’re lucky you might get a spot that’s not too close to a puddle of puke.

On the outside you have the right and freedom to choose and associate with selected friends. On the outside you don’t have to be in close proximity to anyone you feel disinclined to. On the inside it’s a different story. Might is right and intimidation festers. From all directions you are asked for a cigarette, a dime or a candy bar. Depending on who does the refusing, arguments and fistfights erupt. It’s no picnic. It’s filthy, smelly and dehumanizing.

In four hours you will be eligible for release on bail or on your “own recognizance” (OR). If bail is not posted for you, or lacking the requirements for release on OR you will be transferred to a larger facility to await arraignment on the charge.

You can forget about eating if you’re hungry, sometimes even water if you’re thirsty. While waiting for release forget about dirtying your clothes, or getting some rest. You won’t be able to sleep well unless your body and mind are so exhausted either by alcohol or the trying experience; enough to forget the discomfort of the concrete floor and the body odors of thirty cell mates.

Try to stay cool, and out of problems with the other prisoners. You want to get out of there with as many teeth and eyes as you came in with. You try to sleep. It’s not easy. You are a cog in the system, and it is inconvenient as hell.

If you don’t arrange for bail, on the chance of being released OR, you might have a surprise at the end of the four hour wait, when informed that OR is denied. The only place you will be going that night is on the prisoner bus, to the City Jail.

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