Independence Day:  Drinking, Driving, and DUI Checkpoints

The July 4th holiday historically attracts a record number of Americans to the roads. Next week’s fourth will fall in the middle of the week, but that doesn’t mean the accidents that typically occur with Independence Day celebrations won’t happen.  And that could be a very bad thing, because according to Esurance as well as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Fourth of July is the worst day of the year for fatal car crashes.”


It’s a face. Many celebrate Independence Day with grilling out and adult beverages.  Those who choose to imbibe would be well-advised to utilize a designated driver, or hire transportation rather than drive on Florida roadways after drinking.  The best reason is to save lives. But another practical reason is to avoid a DUI conviction in Florida over the July 4th holiday.

Sobriety checkpoints happen often on holidays, and they are legal in Florida (see FL 483 So.2d 433). These police traffic stops are not tied to the behavior of any specific person—the roadblocks are theoretically temporary and random.  And while it is true that the United States Constitution requires probable cause for an officer to administer a traffic stop, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the drunken driving dangers outweigh the “degree of intrusion” of sobriety checkpoints.  Quite simply: DUI checkpoints are an exception to the search and seizure provisions of the U.S. Constitution.



The National Highway Safety Transportation Board has guidelines for police to follow while conducting DUI checkpoints. Drivers will be briefly detained and interviewed, with those whose behavior might indicate intoxication asked to submit to field sobriety tests.  



DUI Conviction:  Costs and More Costs


Being arrested for drunk driving is preferable to having an accident- especially a fatal one.  But it is still an expensive lesson. A DUI could cause your insurance premiums to triple—with that inflated rate remaining for years.  That could means thousands of extra dollars spent for your DUI mistake.

With a DUI on your record, you will be considered a high-risk driver, and the higher rates are commensurate with your new classification.  You may no longer qualify for car insurance discounts such as claim-free or good driver—which could raise your rates even more.

A DUI in Florida can wind up costing, with fines, attorney fees, court and DMV costs, and increased insurance a minimum of $5,000 and potentially closer to $25,000. Hard to believe this would be lucky—but again, it’s hard to argue that getting arrested and convicted of DUI is infinitely better than losing your life—or costing someone else’s theirs.  



As Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol, said in a written statement:

“Independence Day is a day to celebrate the birth of our great nation with family and friends, enjoying cookouts and fireworks,” “But people need to use good judgment over the long holiday weekend so that the celebration doesn’t turn into a tragedy.”





You may never pick up your keys after picking up a drink.  But unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you are safe from the reckless behavior of others.  Anytime on Florida roads, as safe as you may be while operating your vehicle, others may not be.  If you or a loved one has been a driver or passenger and been injured in an auto accident, you can receive compensation not only for your vehicle, but for your pain, suffering, and medical expenses as well.   

Before you speak with an insurance company, the attorneys at Thomas and Pearl want to speak to you.


$150 MILLION in verdicts and settlements


Injuries and deaths happen from automobile accidents on Florida roads.  It’s a fact. Often times the behavior of the other driver was negligent and caused the accident.  Thomas & Pearl attorneys have the skills and training, plus the financial resources necessary to take on the big insurance companies, and to negotiate settlements favorable for our clients.  And Thomas & Pearl Attorneys will absolutely litigate to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.

Ask about our experience as attorneys helping victims of vehicular accidents.

Ask about the more than $150M (MILLION) dollars in recent and past jury verdicts and settlements we have gained for our clients.

We’ll evaluate your case situation with you, develop a strategy to win or successfully negotiate the highest amount of compensation for you.

Experienced legal help can make the difference between a successful resolution and losing in court.  And you pay nothing unless we get that successful resolution for you.



Contact Thomas & Pearl anytime.


Contact Thomas & Pearl Injury Attorneys.  Fighting for Floridians.  Call toll free 24/7 at 877-990-HELP (4357), or visit

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