How DUI's Impact The Entire Family; Former Party Girl Shares Story


By Brittany Cooper

Filer, Idaho (KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV) On Monday, we introduced you to Amber Balles, a local woman whose drinking problem got her in trouble with the law. Now she's made some serious changes to turn her life around.

Amber Balles is seen here playing with her sons, Austin who's 12 and two-year old Zeik.

Austin saw his mom firsthand journey through the legal system because of her drinking woes.

Balles adds, "my son ended up staying with his grandparents because I couldn't get him to and from school."

Balles now 30, has a boyfriend of four years and going to school full–time.

"...To be a dental hygienist; I work at the Cove part–time because my school load is so heavy."

Providing a more stable home for Austin and he couldn't be more pleased with his mother's changes.

"I'm actually proud of her because I know she went through a lot and she's working so hard to make me and Bubba (Zeik) a better future," adds Austin Wiggs, Balles' son.

Balles still drinks on a occasion, but takes a cab to and from home if she plans to drink. She's now an advocate for drinking and driving awareness.

"Just don't do it. It's so easy, it's a $5 cab ride. It's so much cheaper, $5 compared to thousands," adds Balles.

She wouldn't be where she is today without her family's support and the lessons learned from her third DUI and for those who say DUI court doesn't work, just ask the coordinator of Twin Falls.

"44% of DUI, the high risk DUI, DUI seconds or excessive, 44% of them will be back with a felony charge within 2–3 years. Our recidivism in DUI Court here in Twin Falls is now 9%. So our of nearly 300, we've had 27 people come with new charges," says Steven Conger, DUI Court Coordinator, Twin Falls.

And as for Balles...

"I made some bad choices, but I don't regret any of them because it led me to who I am now."

Both Conger and Balles agree, Idaho needs stricter consequences when it comes to the Driving Under the Influence Law.

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