U.S. Cities See Independence Day Spike in DUI Arrests

By Topher

The Fourth of July is usually associated with the usual suspects of fireworks, booze, and hot dogs. Unfortunately, the holiday has also become notorious for the number of DUI arrests that occur during the festivities.

This trend grew more pronounced in many areas this year. From Biloxi, Mississippi, to Santa Clara, California, several cities across the country saw a significant spike in DUI arrests over the holiday weekend.

First, according to local sources, a total of 214 drivers were cited for driving under the influence in Mississippi during the mid-summer festivities. This represented a 27 percent jump over the number of DUI arrests at the same time last year.

In the entire state, troopers reported issuing more than 5,000 traffic citations, although a significant number of these violations were not alcohol-related.

During the weekend, Mississippi troopers responded to a total of 130 accidents. Roughly 40 of these had injuries and one resulted in a fatality, although this was also not due to drunk driving.

More collisions and citations occurred on the Gulf Coast, where traffic becomes particularly dense during the weekend.

This rising DUI trend was not limited to genteel southern states. Across the country in California, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office reported an even more dramatic 33 percent increase in the number of DUI arrests during the holiday, although the statistics show the jump could be as high as 50 percent.

In this year’s anti-DUI crackdown, county officials arrested 141 people for driving under the influence. During a similar campaign on the Fourth of July last year, officers arrested a mere 94 drivers for driving while intoxicated.

Law enforcement officials were stumped when asked for an explanation of the rising numbers, claiming that DUI figures had dropped in recent years, especially over Memorial Day weekend.

The weekend also saw five DUI-related car accidents in Santa Clara County, but no fatalities were reported. The city plans to aggressively enforce DUI laws during Labor Day weekend this September.

The jump in DUI arrests during this party-filled weekend is somewhat typical, as police officers are often more vigilant about establishing checkpoints and more carefully monitoring drivers’ behavior.

As a result, holiday weekends also see a rise in the use of public transportation, carpooling, and taxis to avoid the legal consequences of an arrest for drunk driving.

A DUI charge, however, does not have to cripple your reputation or your finances. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence, a local DUI lawyer may help you fight the charge.