An opinion forms the minute you see a person and that opinion is a tough one to change. It becomes harder when alcohol is involved. What people see first is what they remember and those strong first impressions can be impossible to change.

In many community newspapers across the country, editors print police records and court filings; those filings may include charges for alcohol related offenses. It can be a harsh call to take when someone contacts a newspaper reporter to find out why their name showed up in court records or police logs.

In some cases, callers are told that it is printed because it is public record and if they do not want to be in the paper, don’t do the crime. Sometimes people call because the newspaper does not print the outcome of that arrest or court case, but many community newspapers are small and don’t have the staff or the time to research every court case they print to print the disposition later.

There comes a point when people have to take responsibility; when they have to think about what they show the world. Someone who is highly involved in youth sports or with children in other ways might want to consider, beforehand, what it’s going to look like if they are caught driving while under the influence.

Think about the consequences of that terrible impression. What parent would allow their child to ride along with someone who has been arrested for driving under the influence?

Consequences of drinking and driving or being charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence are even tougher for youths, regardless of how much alcohol they may or may not have consumed. Not only may they be charged with minor in possession by consumption (MIP by consumption), but it would make sense that school officials and teachers might think twice about letting that youth continue as an athlete or student body president.

Being cited or arrested for MIP seriously undermines the authority of even the best student leader, at least in the eyes of adults, because the ability to trust that student may be gone. Besides that, teenagers can lose their drivers license, sometimes until they turn 18.

Community leaders may have even more problems if they are charged with public intoxication or DWI. After a DWI arrest, the offender’s license is suspended. In some cases, there is the possibility of regaining privileges after a period of time. If a person is stopped by the police and refuses to take a breathalyzer test, they run the risk of losing their license for a year. That does a lot of damage to a person’s reputation, especially when it affects their ability to do their job.

Consider the consequences, consider the impression you make on others when you go out to drink, and know how you’re going to get home, without being the driver. Don’t drink and drive.