Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

1022 Being Cited for a DUI

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,022 – Being Cited for a DUI.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,022. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at ESLPod.com. Become a member of ESL Podcast and download a Learning Guide for this episode. You can also take a look at our ESL Podcast Store which has some interesting – and I think exciting – courses in Business and Daily English. And why not like us on Facebook at facebook.com/eslpod.

This episode is a dialogue between Susan and Jack about drinking and driving – never a good idea. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Susan: Hey, Jack, you’re an attorney. Do you know anything about DUIs?

Jack: Sure, I’ve handled a few DUI cases.

Susan: I was just wondering about the penalties for a DUI.

Jack: Well, if it’s a first offense, you’ll be fined and may be placed on probation. You’ll need to attend DUI school, and your license will be restricted, which means you can only drive to and from work and to and from DUI school.

Susan: That sounds serious, but what if it’s not your first offense?

Jack: Then the penalties get even more serious. With your second offense, you’ll probably do mandatory jail time, anywhere from 96 hours to a year, depending on the circumstances. Your driver’s license will be suspended, and you’ll be placed on probation for several years.

Susan: Those are some severe penalties. But what if you already have two DUIs?

Jack: Then you’ll get several months in jail, at least. Your license will be revoked and you may be required to go into an alcohol treatment program. Why are you asking me all of these questions? You’re not in trouble, are you?

Susan: No, I’m not. I just met a guy and I really like him, but I think he just got his third DUI.

Jack: If that isn’t deterrent enough, you may think about what kind of relationship you can have with him – from behind bars!

[end of dialogue]

This dialogue is between Susan and Jack. Susan says to Jack, “Hey Jack, you’re an attorney. Do you know anything about DUIs?” Notice, Susan appears to be a friend of Jack, because she says, “Hey.” That would be a word we would use with a friend or someone we know well.

Susan says to Jack, “You’re an attorney.” An “attorney” (attorney) is a lawyer – someone who studies the laws of a particular state or country and often represents other people in legal actions. If you are arrested by the police, you will probably want to get an attorney. In the United States, if you don’t have money for an attorney, the government will pay for an attorney for you, although it won’t necessarily be the best attorney – but you will get someone.

In our story, Jack is an attorney, and Susan is asking him if he knows anything about DUIs. A “DUI” is when you are arrested for driving under the influence. The “I” in DUI stands for “influence,” and that means that you are affected by something. What are you affected by? Well, usually alcohol. So, “driving under the influence” means driving under the influence of alcohol – driving while you have alcohol “in your system,” we would say – in your body – and it is affecting how you drive.

Obviously, if you drink too much, you get drunk, and then you aren’t able to drive as well as people who are not drinking, or at least as well as most people who are not drinking. DUIs, then, are offenses – things you can get arrested for. In the United States, it’s a very serious offense nowadays. In the last, oh, maybe 30 to 40 years, the laws have become much tougher on people who drink and drive at the same time. Definitely not something you want to do, not just for legal reasons, but for safety reasons as well.

Jack says to Susan, “Sure, I’ve handled a few DUI cases.” “To handle” (handle) as a verb means to be responsible for – to take care of or to manage something. Here it means to have participated in and taken care of or been responsible for something. A “case” (case) here refers to a legal process or legal matter – something involving the law. Jack says he’s “handled a few DUI cases” – that is, legal matters that involve people who were arrested for driving under the influence.

Susan says, “I was just wondering about the penalties for a DUI.” A “penalty” (penalty) is a punishment for breaking some rule or some law. Jack says, “Well, if it’s a first offense, you’ll be fined and maybe placed on probation.” A “first offense” is the first time that you break a law. An “offense” (offense) is when you do something wrong, something, in this case, illegal. So, a first offense would be the first time that you broke this law.

I should mention that the laws regarding DUIs relate not just to people who are drinking, but also people who are taking any sort of drug that would affect their ability to drive properly. If you’ve been drinking and driving, the police will measure your blood alcohol level – the amount of alcohol in your body – and if it is more than the acceptable amount, you will almost certainly be arrested (taken in by the police) or at the very least you will be given a ticket – a notification that you have broken the law – and have to pay some sort of penalty or be punished somehow.

One way that you can be punished is to be fined. “To be fined” (fined) means to have to pay money to the government or some official organization for something you did wrong. The fines, which is the amount of money you have to pay for a DUI, can be quite high – hundreds or perhaps even thousands of dollars.

Jack says, “You may also be placed on probation” (probation). “To be placed on probation” means to be told that you can’t commit any more crimes or any similar crime for a certain amount of time. The reason people are placed on probation is to prevent them from committing the crime again, and if they do, then they will be punished even more. So, if you are on probation for six months or one year and you are arrested again for a DUI, your punishment will be much more severe. It will be much greater than if you were not on probation.

Usually when someone is arrested for something serious, after they are released from prison they are on probation – they have to basically not break any laws for a certain amount of time, and if they do, they can sometimes be sent back to prison. Jack says, “You’ll need to attend DUI school, and your license will be restricted, which means you can only drive to and from work and to and from DUI school.” “DUI school” is basically an educational program you have to undertake, you have to participate in, that reminds you of the laws of driving.

“To have your license” – your driver’s license or permission – “restricted” means that you can only drive certain places or under certain circumstances. So, you can’t drive around the city just because you want to. You can only drive from your house to your work, for example. That would be one possible restriction on your driving privileges or driving abilities.

Susan says, “That sounds serious, but what if it’s not your first offense?” Susan wants to know what if you have broken the law more than once. Jack explains, “Then the penalties get even more serious. With your second offense, you’ll probably do mandatory jail time.” A “jail” (jail) is the same as a prison. “Jail time” means spending time in prison. “Mandatory” (mandatory) means it’s required. It’s not voluntary or optional. You have to do it.

How much time will you have to spend in prison? Well, it depends on the state in which you live. In our dialogue, Jack says it can be anywhere from 96 hours to a year, depending on the circumstances. “Your driver’s license will be suspended,” Jack says, “and you’ll be placed on probation for several years.” Your “driver’s license,” as we explained, is your permission to drive. If your license is “suspended,” you can no longer drive. You have to wait until your period of punishment is over, which could be several years.

Susan says, “Those are some severe penalties.” “Severe” (severe) means very strict or very serious. “Severe” refers to a situation that is very extreme in some negative way. Susan says, “But what if you already have two DUIs?” What if you been arrested twice for drunk driving or driving under the influence? Jack says, “Then you’ll get several months in jail, at least,” meaning at minimum. “Your license will be revoked and you may be required to go into an alcohol treatment program.”

If your license is “revoked” (revoked), it is taken away from you completely. Notice that you can have your license “suspended,” which means you can’t use it for a certain amount of time, or you could have your license “revoked,” which means you lose your license completely, and often you won’t be able to get another license. An “alcohol treatment program” is a program that helps you get over your problems with drinking. You could also go into a “drug treatment program” if your problem is with some other sort of drug.

Jack says, “Why are you asking me all of these questions? You’re not in trouble, are you?” Susan says, “No, I’m not. I just met a guy and I really like him, but I think he just got his third DUI.” So, Susan has met some gentleman in whom she’s interested romantically, but this gentleman has three DUIs.

Jack says, “If that isn’t deterrent enough, you may think about what kind of relationship you can have with him from behind bars.” A “deterrent” (deterrent) is something that discourages you from doing something – something that would prevent you from doing something or give you a good reason not to do something. Jack is saying that the fact that this man that Susan is interested in has three DUIs should be a deterrent to her. It should prevent her or discourage her from forming a romantic relationship with him.

The reason Jack says this is because it would be, for one thing, difficult to have such a relationship if a man is in prison. The expression “from behind bars” (bars) refers to being in prison. The “bar” here isn’t a place where you go to drink. The “bars” are metal rods or sticks that are placed on the windows of a prison to prevent people from leaving the prison.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Susan: Hey, Jack, you’re an attorney. Do you know anything about DUIs?

Jack: Sure, I’ve handled a few DUI cases.

Susan: I was just wondering about the penalties for a DUI.

Jack: Well, if it’s a first offense, you’ll be fined and may be placed on probation. You’ll need to attend DUI school, and your license will be restricted, which means you can only drive to and from work and to and from DUI school.

Susan: That sounds serious, but what if it’s not your first offense?

Jack: Then the penalties get even more serious. With your second offense, you’ll probably do mandatory jail time, anywhere from 96 hours to a year, depending on the circumstances. Your driver’s license will be suspended, and you’ll be placed on probation for several years.

Susan: Those are some severe penalties. But what if you already have two DUIs?

Jack: Then you’ll get several months in jail, at least. Your license will be revoked and you may be required to go into an alcohol treatment program. Why are you asking me all of these questions? You’re not in trouble, are you?

Susan: No, I’m not. I just met a guy and I really like him, but I think he just got his third DUI.

Jack: If that isn’t deterrent enough, you may think about what kind of relationship you can have with him – from behind bars!

[end of dialogue]

Dr. Lucy Tse handles all of our scripts here at ESL Podcast, and we thank her for her wonderful service.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan – not behind bars – thanking you for listening and inviting you to listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2014 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
attorney – a lawyer; a person who has earned a degree in the study of law and is officially allowed to represent others in legal matters

* How much did you have to pay the attorney to write that contract?

DUI – driving under the influence; a citation (ticket given by police) for driving a vehicle after having drunken too much alcohol or taken drugs

* If you don’t want to get a DUI, hand me the keys and I’ll drive you home.

to handle – to be responsible for something and process it or otherwise take care of it

* How are we going to handle the costs of training the new employees?

case – a lawsuit; one legal argument between two parties

* Most of Deborah’s cases are related to family law and child custody.

penalty – a punishment for breaking a rule or law

* The penalty for returning a library book late is a late fee of $0.50 per book per day.

first offense – the first time that one breaks a particular rule or the law, or the first time that one is found to have done something illegal

* The judge chose a mild punishment because it was the boy’s first offense.

to fine (someone) – to tell someone that he or she has to pay a certain amount of money, especially as a punishment for something he or she has done

* According to U.S. law, anyone who copies a DVD may be fined up to $250,000.

probation – a period of time when one would normally be held in jail, but is released under supervision as a reward for good behavior or because the crime is not very serious

* Chad was released on probation, but if he breaks any laws, he’ll have to go back to jail for the remainder of his sentence.

restricted – limited in some way; not fully allowed; not free and able to do what one wants

* Access to this information is restricted to people with special permission.

mandatory jail time – a period of time that one must spend in prison as a consequence of committing a crime, without the judge having any power to shorten that period of time

* The crime has mandatory jail time of three weeks, but she might be in jail much longer if the judge decides to issue a harsher sentence.

driver’s license – a small card that officially allows someone to drive a vehicle, usually issued by the state government

* Shelley passed the driving test and got her driver’s license on her 16th birthday.

suspended – temporarily ended; without power or validity for a certain period of time, especially as a punishment

* Ricardo has been suspended from playing on the team for the rest of the semester because he was using illegal drugs.

severe – very harsh and serious; extreme in a negative way

* Cutting off someone’s hand for stealing a loaf of bread is a severe punishment.

to revoke – to take something away; to remove permission, undo a promise, or break a commitment

* When the company was found guilty of corruption and attempted bribery, all of its government contracts were revoked.

alcohol treatment program – a program that tries to help people break their addiction to alcohol so that it no longer controls their life

* The alcohol treatment program teaches people to call their mentor when they feel the need to drink.

deterrent – something that discourages someone from doing something; a disincentive

* The store uses security tags on its most expensive items as a deterrent to thieves.

behind bars – in prison; in jail

* Jesse was behind bars when his daughter was born, so he didn’t get to see her until she was much older.

Comprehension Questions
1. What happens the first time someone has a DUI?
a) His or her license is permanently taken away.
b) He or she has to pay money to the government.
c) He or she has to perform community service.

2. What happens in an alcohol treatment program?
a) People receive help to end their addiction to alcohol.
b) People learn about the benefits of drinking alcohol.
c) People learn how to make different kinds of alcohol.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to handle

The verb “to handle,” in this podcast, means to be responsible for something and process it or otherwise take care of it: “Are you sure a single teacher can handle 30 kindergarten students in one classroom?” The verb “to handle” can also mean to keep control of one’s behavior under difficult circumstances: “How do astronauts handle living in such a small space?” Or, “As a new attorney, Darla is struggling to handle the heavy workload.” Sometimes the verb “to handle” means to hold something: “Have you ever handled a gun before?” Finally, when talking about a car, the verb “to handle’ means to drive smoothly and to be easy for the driver to control: “Wow, this sports car handles like a dream, even at very fast speeds.”

behind bars

In this podcast, the phrase “behind bars” means in prison or jail: “If the court finds that he committed the crime, he could be behind bars for the rest of this life.” When talking about a playground, “monkey bars” are a structure that children climb on and/or hang from: “Wyatt isn’t strong enough to play on the monkey bars yet. He might fall down.” In gymnastics, the “parallel bars” are two wooden bars that the athletes swing around and between: “It’s amazing to watch Heather’s body twist and turn around the parallel bars.” Finally, “bars” are places that serve alcohol, either as the main focus of a business or as a small part of a larger restaurant: “They ate appetizers and drank cocktails at the bar until their table was ready.”

Culture Note
Breathalyzers

The breathalyzer is a “device” (small machine) that analyzes an individual’s “breath” (the air that is pushed out of one’s nose or mouth). First, the individual breathes into the machine. Then the “readings” (information produced by a device) are used to “estimate” (guess how much of something there is) the individual’s “blood alcohol level” (a measure of how much alcohol is in one’s body, used to determine how much one’s judgment will be affected).

The first “breathalyzer-like devices” (devices similar to the modern breathalyzer) were developed in 1927 as a way for “housewives” (women who do not have a job outside of the home) to determine whether their husbands had been drinking. But beginning in 1931, the devices were being used to “assess” (measure; determine) the blood alcohol level of “motorists” (drivers).

Modern breathalyzers are “non-invasive” (do not require that anything is placed inside the body) and provide results almost instantly, so they are very convenient. Police officers use breathalyzers in their daily work, and many “establishments” (businesses, especially restaurants or hotels) that serve alcohol make breathalyzers available to their customers. Customers can test their blood alcohol levels themselves before deciding whether they think it is safe for them to drive home.

Breathalyzer tests are not perfect, so high readings are often “verified” (confirmed) with a “blood test” (a chemical analysis of one’s blood). Some courts accept breathalyzer readings, but in a few state,s the results “are inadmissible in court” (cannot be used as evidence in court), so the blood tests are required to prove that someone was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - a