It’s no secret that Florida is one of the top spring break spots in the country. With so many wonderful beaches to choose from every year college students flock south between March and April for a week of sun, fun and libation. And hey, what happens on spring break stays on spring break, right?
Unfortunately that’s not always the case.
I’ve had quite a few former clients who came to Florida for a fun and relaxing vacation and ended up being arrested while here. That takes the relaxing right out of your vacation.
Just last year the Ft. Lauderdale police issued a “Zero Tolerance Policy” during spring break specifying that they would arrest people on the spot if they violated any of the orders in the ordinance, which included having alcohol on the beach, causing a public disturbance while intoxicated, and even sleeping on the beach. All of these activities are somewhat common during this time of year, and with the zero tolerance policy in effect the number of arrests always increases.
In fact, in 2017 the Ft. Lauderdale police made 15 arrests during the first week of spring break, and Miami Beach police made 35 arrests in the first weekend alone, and 50 arrests the second weekend. And that’s only in South Florida. There were 500 arrests made in the Destin/Fort Walton Beach area during last year’s spring break period.
The majority of these arrests were for a lot of avoidable incidents, like drinking and smoking pot in public in the daytime, brawling, and silly dares. One woman hit a police officer in the back of the head on a dare from her friends.
Not only is March Spring Break month, but it’s also St. Patrick’s Day—the quintessential drinking holiday that causes a spike in DUI arrests—meaning that between March and April there’s a much higher likelihood of being arrested in Florida.
That’s why, if you’re going to party, it’s important to be both careful and smart.
Here are a few tips to keep your vacation safe and enjoyable:
- If you’re going out drinking, leave the rental car at the hotel. Take a cab, walk or grab an Uber.
- Privacy is underrated. Whatever your method of partying keep it out of the public eye.
- If approached by an officer, say as little as possible. Odds are whatever you say is more likely to do more harm than good.
- Be mindful of where you are before accepting a dare or instigating a fight. You don’t want to give an officer any reason to approach you.
- Rotate responsibility with your friends. Try and always have one person reining everyone else in.
If you do get into trouble, make sure you call a lawyer right away. This is very important. In order for you to be able to go home when you’re scheduled to, and avoid the hassle of coming back to Florida multiple times, you need to hire a good local attorney. A good local attorney will probably be able to waive your appearance in court and handle the case for you while you’re home recovering.