If you are arrested and convicted one time for DWI, it could be attributed to a misunderstanding or a lapse in judgment. If you’re arrested for repeated DWIs, it signals a possible problem. If you find yourself caught in a repeated DWI cycle, you’re not alone–but you’re still in a dangerous position. As many as one-third of all DWI arrests are for repeat offenders, and according to MADD, 91 percent of alcohol-related fatalities are committed by repeat offenders.
If you have multiple DWIs, you’re at risk for a host of consequences, including unemployment, loss of driving privileges, higher insurance rates, and jail time–not to mention an increased chance of causing injury or death to yourself and others. The best way to break this cycle is to understand its root causes and then take tangible steps to disrupt the cycle.
Why People Commit Repeat DWIs
There is no single explanation for why people get caught in the cycle of repeat DWIs. Various experiences and factors can play into a person’s repeated decision to drive impaired, and it usually runs deeper than a simple lapse in judgment or unfortunate circumstances. Common examples include, but are not limited to:
Untreated Alcoholism: Alcoholism is a disease; however, it can be difficult for some to admit they have a problem and seek treatment. If a person is in denial about their drinking problem, they are less likely to admit to themselves or others when they have had too much to drink. By the same token, intoxication affects their judgment and makes them more likely to make a bad decision.
Compulsive behaviors: Many people engage in repetitive behaviors that are based more on impulse than reason–many of which can be disruptive and destructive. These behaviors can be attributable to a wide range of factors, including anger issues, dysfunctional family backgrounds, and many others.
Mental illness: A recent study indicated that as many as 60 percent of repeat DUI offenders suffer from some form of mental illness. Examples may include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and others. If you are dealing with emotional or mental health issues, these may be feeding into your propensity to drive while impaired.
Addressing the Root Cause
Figuring out how to break a cycle of repeated DWIs will usually take more than just promising yourself or others not to do it again. It first requires a healthy dose of self-honesty to identify the driving factors behind this pattern, usually followed by a lot of hard work to deal with whatever root causes you discover. Disrupting a DWI cycle may involve any or all of the following:
- Treatment for alcohol dependency
- Seeking help from a therapist to deal with mental/emotional issues or compulsive tendencies
- Participating in a support group
- Working with an accountability partner or network
- Learning new patterns of behavior that reduce the temptation to drive while impaired
Here’s the good news: Having multiple DWIs doesn’t automatically point to an endless cycle of misery and shame for you. With honesty and hard work, you can disrupt this pattern and get your life back on track. As for dealing with the immediate circumstances behind your DWI arrest, our experienced attorneys are here to help. Contact Tenn And Tenn, P.A., to schedule your free initial consultation today.