Special Report: Drunk & Dangerous Part 1
“I went through bad situations and instead of looking for the right help, I was looking for the bartender’s help,” says Blue Jacket.
Tab Blue Jacket is a convicted DUI offender. He’s been caught drinking and driving five times.
Under Oklahoma law he’s had his license revoked, paid around $8000 in fines and legal fees, and has to complete a drug program.
He says those who drink and drive are determined.
“To me there’s always a way to get around it of some nature. I mean if you want to drive bad enough. you’re going to find a car. It doesn’t have to be your car. You’re gonna find a car to drive.”
Under a new law, a third repeat felony DUI conviction means a judge can confiscate the offenders car.
“It’s gonna be a really rare situation where we find somebody getting that type of dui, that actually owns their vehicle and that warrants us instituting that procedure against them. But I think in those situations where it’s appropriate it’s a good thing to do,” says Ottawa County District Attorney Kenny Wright.
Wright says he hasn’t been able to use the new law yet. But says he will when the opportunity presents itself.
Blue Jacket says on top of having to pay fines losing his car would be an inconvenience
“No public transportation, really, around here. And if it is it’s on their schedule. Not necessarily on yours. So you have to really plan out your day, so it affects you greatly if you wouldn’t have a car.”
Although offenders might lose their car, there isn’t a law that would prevent them from buying a new one.
“Oftentimes they find themselves in a big enough financial hole that not only have they lost their license, they’ve lost their job, they’ve lost their family. They don’t really have anything at all. So usually when we catch someone driving on a third or subsequent DUI felony offense it’s not their car, they don’t have a license, they’ve borrowed it from a friend to run to the store to pick up some beer or whatever it may be.”
Blue Jacket says his drinking obsession was mostly due to a rough divorce, and that he and others need help, not hardship.
“For the most people who are habitual DUI offenders, especially habitual DUI offenders, there’s a bigger problem than them just drinking. There’s some source that they’re drinking for a reason, and I think that’s the issue that needs to be addressed.”