(Arizona Cat’s Eye)
Amanda Hurley essentially walked out of college into jail.
“I graduated from U of A on I believe it was the 20th of December, and I went to jail on the 21st,” said Hurley, who had been a reporter and columnist on the student-published Tombstone Epitaph newspaper during her semester before graduation.
She had never been pulled over before, so of course, it wasn’t something she ever really expected. “Before I got a DUI I thought like, oh drunks get DUI’s,” she said.
But she has found a way to cope with a harsh reality. “It’s the single most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me; that’s why I joke about it now,” she said.
She’s been doing standup comedy for about three years, and now– since her DUI last September–she often opens her comedy act talking about her experience getting the charge.
Hurley isn’t alone, however. Law enforcement officials say that young adults make up the mass majority of DUI offenses.
“What I see a lot of is, I see college students who have a low alcohol concentration and yet a higher level of impairment. That’s because they haven’t been drinking hard for 30 years, and they’re not as tolerant to the effects,” said James Nesci, an attorney who handles DUI cases.
Aside from the nearly $8,000 that Hurley says she has spent during the whole legal process so far, what does something like this mean for young adults, such as Hurley, going fresh into the job market?
“Employers are always going to be looking for minimized risk. If you come to us, what’s the risk going to be, whether to our clientele, our business, your ability to do your job,” said Cyndy Watson, a University of Arizona career services counselor.
Concealing the criminal offense when applying for jobs, however, is not a solution, she said. “That’s probably not the first thing you want to share with someone, but it is certainly not the last. You want to be prepared with your story, and how you’re not going to be a risk for them,” Watson said.
No matter what, though, Hurley plans to continue discussing DUI, including in her standup comedy act “I’m joking, but I also maybe think that people might think twice before driving if they think about the cavity search,” Hurley said. Which can happen if you go to jail, even if only for one day, often times the minimum required for a DUI offense.