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Law officers remind drivers of consequences of driving drunk

WILLMAR -- Law enforcement officers from the Kandiyohi and Swift county sheriff's offices and the Atwater, Benson and Willmar police departments are working next patrol shifts on Safe and Sober patrols during December.

According to a news release from the agencies, they wish to remind drivers about the consequences of making the choice to drive drunk this holiday season.

Going to a holiday party involves choices and consequences.

CHOICE: You drive drunk in December.

The holiday bills are nothing compared to the $20,000 your DWI arrest cost you.

You won't have to see your relatives over the holidays. You avoid them by being in jail, unconscious in a hospital, or dead.

You crash off the road and get really cold in the snow-filled ditch waiting for the sheriff's deputy to find you and take you to a nice, warm jail cell.

The $150 you planned to use to buy gifts is used instead to get your car out of impound. Of course, you won't have a license to drive it all winter.

You can buy new boots and learn to dress for walking in winter weather, since you'll be without driving privileges until spring.

The officer has to explain that the handcuffs are not your gift; they are only loaned to you for a little while. They'll be needed for the next drunk driver, too.

You cause a family to have to re-live their loved one's death every year at the holidays.

OR: You plan ahead for a social event that includes having a few drinks.

You make your plan ahead of time, and get a ride home with a friend who has not been drinking. They laugh with you the next day about how much fun you had.

You get to ride home in a taxi cab. The taxi driver takes you past the law enforcement traffic stop of a person who drove away from the party, encountered the enhanced DWI patrols, and is failing the walk-the-line test.

You sleep the drinks off on your friend's couch. They see you with messy hair.

When you have a few drinks, you use the "Designated Driver Gift Card" that your friend e-sent you from You get home safe. Life goes on.

CHOICE: You host a party - responsibly.

You know everyone there is at least 21 years old. You provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverage options and snacks. You have fun socializing and playing party games. You stop serving liquor an hour before the party ends. You call a sober ride for a co-worker who's rather wobbly from having more to drink than anticipated. You wake up in the morning with good memories, and a friend on your couch who has a bit of a hangover. You spend the next day getting complementary calls from party-goers who really had a good time.

OR: You invite some friends over.

You don't keep track of who's coming and going or how much they're drinking. After all, it's your party and you do what you want to! You wake up alone and cold in jail, with vague memories of the police at your door telling about the 19-year-old who left your party drunk and killed someone on the roadside. You spend the day trying to remember what happened, calling an attorney, and getting used to your new orange jumpsuit.