Taking the high road

Gianna Camorani

After a night of drinking, it may be tempting to get behind the wheel.

You might be trying to get home, to a different party across town or to a place with food to satisfy your munchies. Whatever your circumstances may be, serious consequences can happen if you choose to drink and drive.

A first offense charge of operating while intoxicated (OWI) is considered to be a serious misdemeanor. Those charged will spend a minimum of 48 hours in jail and receive a minimum fine of $500 if no personal injuries or property damage took place. If there was damage to people or property, the minimum fine is raised to $1,000. The maximum punishment is one year in jail and a $1,500 fine.

Commander Jason Tuttle of the Ames Police Department said Ames police arrest about 200 people for OWIs annually. Combine that with the Iowa State Police Department’s 179 OWI arrests in 2014 and that’s more than 375 drunk drivers charged in Ames last year.

Here are some safe alternatives to driving drunk that will keep your criminal record spotless and your conscience at ease:

Have A Designated Driver. Before you go out, find someone who will be staying sober all night to give you a ride when you need it. They can either come out with you or they can stay at home and keep their phone handy.

Take a Taxi. Call one of the numerous taxi services available in Ames. Give them a call and they’ll come pick you up as soon as they can.

Use Uber. Uber just came to Ames. All you need to do is download the Uber app, create an account and request to be picked up.

Take CyRide. From 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, the good old Moonlight Express is making its rounds. For more information on routes and schedules, check out cyride.com.

Call the Help Van. Give them a call any time at 515-294-4444 and they’ll pick you up, no questions asked.

Walk. You were born with two legs and now it’s their time to shine. If home isn’t within walking distance, call a friend who lives nearby and ask if you can stay with them. It’s likely they would much rather have you spend the night on their couch instead of in a cell at the Story County Jail.