You Have the Right to Remain Silent
By Bob Kaku
I leaned forward against the patrol car as the officer read me the Miranda rights and clasped my wrists in handcuffs. I had never been in trouble with the law before. Earlier that evening, I went to a company party at an upscale Silicon Valley restaurant. All day long I hadn’t eaten anything because of my hectic work schedule, and I was famished. When I arrived, my colleagues greeted me. “Grab yourself a drink, Bob.” While mingling with them, I gulped a couple of beers and munched on some savory clams and light appetizers. As the night progressed, I downed cognac, scotch, and some mixed drinks. Around ten o’clock, I left the party to go home.
Just two miles from home, flashing red and blue lights appeared in my rearview mirror as I was driving on the freeway. Oh, no! The patrol car eased behind me as I pulled over to the shoulder.
An officer walked over to my open window and hunched over. “Sir, I saw you weaving across the lanes. Have you been drinking tonight?”
“I had a couple of drinks.” The truth was I had six or seven.
“Please step out of the car, sir. I’m going to have you perform some sobriety tests. Now, come over here and walk a straight line.”
Piece of cake.
“Now, spread your arms wide apart and touch your nose with your index fingers.”
I’m doing okay.
“Now, stand on one leg, hold out your arms, and tilt your head backwards.” My leg began to wobble, and I nearly lost my balance. I had to put my foot down to catch myself.
Cold steel handcuffs grasped my wrists. I’m being arrested?
The officer opened the back door of the patrol car and pushed my head down. I slunk into the backseat with my hands cuffed behind me. As we headed to the county jail, my mind flashed back to the times I had gotten drunk, drove home, and woke up the following morning not remembering how I got home. One time I dozed off on the freeway and awoke a few seconds after missing my exit. I had to admit this had become a pattern.
When we arrived at the county jail, a sheriff’s deputy handed me a Breathalyzer. “Here, blow into this,” he said. Afterward he took the device and left the room. He returned five minutes later with a little paper readout. “Your blood-alcohol registered 0.11 percent.” The threshold for driving under the influence was 0.10 percent back then. The deputy emptied my pockets and confiscated my keys, wallet, and watch. I was photographed and fingerprinted.
I was the first one in the “drunk tank.” About fifteen men joined me as the night wore on, creating a cacophony of slurred and coarse words. Some staggered in with bloodshot eyes and were very disoriented. Others were tough, burly characters I didn’t want anything to do with. The crowded drunk tank reeked with liquored breath and dank sweat. I grabbed the sleeves of my dark business suit and shrank away from the other men. One intimidating guy monopolized the jail cell phone for hours. Finally, at 3:30 AM, the phone freed, and I called my friend to pick me up. When he arrived, he guffawed. “I knew you’d get into trouble one day.”
At the trial, I planned to plead no contest and expected to pay stiff fines. The judge declared people pleading no contest would face jail time, even first-time offenders.
Jail? What am I going to tell my family, friends, and boss?
Later the judge offered an alternative—weekend community service work. Whew! Because my blood alcohol was a lot lower than the others, I received one of the lightest sentences—five weekends.
When I left the courtroom, a man wearing a chic suit approached me. “How many days did you get?”
“What?” He repeated the question. Oh, he’s an attorney. “Ten days,” I answered.
“What was your blood-alcohol level?”
“Point eleven percent.”
“Is that all? I can get you off. All you have to do is sign a retainer.”
“How much is it?”
“Five hundred dollars.”
Just as I was about to take him up on his offer, feelings of deep remorse and guilt came over me.
I was a fairly new Christian but somehow knew that the Lord wanted me to change my ways. I need to take responsibility for my actions and accept the consequences. I politely declined his offer and shuffled away.
For five weekends I hacked weeds and did miscellaneous carpentry for the county. I paid hefty fines, and the court ordered me to attend a seven-week alcohol rehabilitation class and two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. On top of that, my insurance premiums skyrocketed.
“Oh, Lord, I really blew it. I could have killed or injured someone. I could have killed or injured myself. Thanks for this lesson and for saving me from myself.”
Don’t destroy yourself by getting drunk, but let the Spirit fill your life. (Ephesians 5:18 CEV)
An excerpt from the book Popcorn Miracles® by Bob and Gail Kaku. Used by permission.