Without a doubt, Florida is the number one area in the United States, chosen as a great place for a spring break. This may be especially true for many students living in states that have cold, icy winters. Consider shoveling the alley due to an unexpected spring snowstorm against the party on a warm, sunny beach with white sands and blue waters. It is easy to see how one can plan to escape to Sunshine, even if it is only a brief retreat from frigid temperatures.
Of course, there is a relatively modern trend to choose Europe as a spring break destination, but there is a long way to go before Europeans see the swarms of college and high school students approaching in South Florida. For many, plans to hit the beautiful beaches of Florida begin years before they materialize. Children start talking about how cool a spring break will sometimes be in high school.
Of course, when crowds of visitors flock to an area in a relatively short period of time, problems are likely to arise. All Florida residents are aware of the marauding hordes of spring breakers and the huge effects, both good and bad, that they have on the economy, traffic volumes, the mood of many locals and the number of trafficking quotes issued by various law enforcement agencies.
The economy began to flourish when the tourist season began. This season is usually from the end of October to May 1, and the tail end of the season is the time when we can expect spring breakers to descend on our communities. For many retailers such as hotels, bars, restaurants and gift shops, the last month of the season is a goddess that allows them to do so financially during the slower summer months.
For locals, this can be a very frustrating time. Crowds, strong parties, and drunken college kids can throw a serious wrench into the sun-drenched existence of many of us who live here year-round. Imagine dealing with these problems for weeks until all the spring break is over. Simple things like not being able to find a parking space at your favorite waiting area can become annoying in a few weeks.
When it comes to traffic, it’s often difficult to negotiate South Florida highways and roads on the best terms. Stir has several thousand inexperienced college-age drivers who may be intoxicated by alcohol or illegal drugs, and you have a basic recipe for disaster. This not only poses a great danger to visitors, but also puts all drivers at greater risk of injury or death as a result of a car accident. These visiting drivers do not even have to be under the influence of any substance. Their limited experience, combined with the increase in traffic and the lack of known roads, all statistically add to them, which are at a much higher risk of being involved in a traffic accident.
Unfortunately, as young people, we tend to think that such things only happen to other people, but the statistics are that this should happen to SOME. Add a dash of bravado that most young men experience, and it’s easy to see why it’s a key component, why insurance rates are highest for young men. Of course, with this increased traffic and the tendency of students to abuse the freedom that spring break offers, comes an increased amount of traffic tickets being issued.
There are a lot of cops at this time of year, and I mean a LOT who secretly park in their little hidden holes, just waiting for a driver with a label out of state to pass. Despite the fact that the law states that a police officer cannot bring someone in without a reason, many law enforcement officers use extra-state labels as a reason to withdraw drivers and check their licenses, to judge whether or not they think the passengers of the vehicle drank or used drugs and whether or not they possess illegally purchased alcohol.
This is often the time when students begin to flex their muscles for adults, so to speak, but the consequences of entering one of these situations can have long-term or even lifelong negative effects. Consider the following scenario.
You and your friends go out to a party. You all plan to be responsible adults so that you can be appointed as a specific guide. Well, damn it. After all, it’s a spring break, so you think, “Surely a beer or two won’t hurt.”
You breastfeed your beer until you and your friends decide to return to the hotel to party some more. Your lack of familiarity with the area makes you unaware of how many pedestrians and cyclists there are in South Florida. Since you are unfamiliar with local roads, you almost miss your turn, so you make your turn at the last minute … and then you hear a thump. Too late, you realize you just hit a pedestrian.
When the cops arrive, they smell the alcohol on your breath, so naturally they apply a field sobriety test and a breathing apparatus. You thought you were doing the right thing; you thought you were safe, but now there is someone injured or possibly dead as a result of your bad judgment. It may have nothing to do with the alcohol you have consumed, but this is not how the prosecutor will present himself. If convicted of drinking and driving, you may face the following penalties:
• First crime: a fine of $ 500 to $ 1,000, 50 hours of community service, 6-9 months in prison and probation for up to one year, and detention for 10 days
• Second crime: $ 1,000 – $ 4,000 fine, 9-12 months in prison (with a mandatory minimum of 10 days) and detention of a vehicle for 30 days
• Third offense: $ 2,000 – $ 5,000 fine, 9-12 months in prison (with a mandatory minimum of 30 days) and detention of a vehicle for 90 days
• Fourth offense: a fine of $ 2,000 or more, up to 5 years in prison (with a mandatory minimum of 30 days) and detention for 90 days
The fact that you live outside the country is unlikely to be taken into account when you are convicted; you will have to serve any of your sentences, regardless. If you cause injury or death, you can look into some serious prison.
Yes, spring break is a rite of passage for many young people, but keep in mind that punishments for behavior can irresponsibly change lives for you and the people around you. If you come to Florida for spring break, we welcome you and hope you have experience in your life; just make sure it’s positive. However, if you find yourself one of the thousands who receive a traffic ticket of any kind while visiting here, send us a call for a free consultation at 954-967-9888. Our experienced legal team can help prevent this great experience from turning into a terrible one.