Veteran broadcast anchor Amanda Davis, in an exclusive interview Thursday, said her own lack of oversight led to her arrest Tuesday over a suspended driver’s license.
“It was a misunderstanding on my part,” said Davis, who is joining CBS46 (WGCL-TV) as a new morning anchor starting January 2 after nearly four years off the air.
She was arrested in June 2015 for driving under the influence. As part of a plea deal with Cobb County in November, 2015, she was placed on a one-year probation and given a limited driver’s license. After 120 days, she would be allowed to get her driving privileges fully reinstated.
She said she didn’t realize this type of reinstatement is not automatic. She would have to actively go to the Georgia Department of Driver Services office and pay $210 in person or send $200 by mail. "I didn't know that," she said. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse. It is costly."
After 12 months since the plea deal, her license status reverted to “suspended.”
Davis said she thought she was fine with her driver’s license, an old one in her possession with a 2018 expiration date. “I didn’t think my license was suspended,” she said.
But that was indeed the case. The officer told her, given the law, he had no choice but to arrest her over the suspended license even if it was a misunderstanding. “The officer did his job,” she said. “He was very nice. I didn’t give him a hard time. I just knew I had to go through the process.”
She was sent to Cobb County Jail and paid $1,320 in bail to get out that evening.
Davis, whose birthday is in October, said she forgot for the first time ever to get her car tag renewed. The cop ultimately gave her a warning since she was still within the grace period.
On Wednesday, the day after her arrest, she paid the $210 at the DDS and received a new driver’s license.
She said after she retired in 2013 from WAGA-TV following a 2012 DUI-related arrest, she was able to relax. “I wasn’t stressed about anything,” she said. “I think I perhaps got too lackadaisical about things. Now that I’m back in a routine, I’ll be more conscientious about things like tags.” She said she has already placed a Siri reminder on her iPhone a month before her 2017 birthday to pay the tag fee early.
Davis admitted she was an alcoholic in a three-part special that aired on CBS46 in May. She said today, she has been sober 18 months. (My colleague Gracie Bond Staples' column about her battle with addiction.)
“Treatment worked wonders,” Davis said. “Alcoholism is part of a symptom of a bigger underlying issue. You use alcohol to suppress those feelings about an issue.” In her case, she said it was heartbreak over a break-up with a man she loved that led to depression and excessive drinking.
She said she was also a major workaholic over her 35 years in the broadcast TV business including 26 at WAGA-TV, now a Fox affiliate. “I grew up thinking that you worked, worked, worked until you died,” she said. “Having retired, I realized that 'Wow, there’s more to life than that!' I come back with a whole different perspective.”
After a day of rehearsals Thursday at CBS46 headquarters in Midtown, she said she’s ready for this new chapter in her life. “It’s like getting back on the bicycle,” she said. “And I just have a certain peace now. I don’t think it’s going to be the kind of stress I’m used to working in after so many years in the business.”
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