Clearwater Man Arrested For DUI After Being Turned In By Fast Food Manager

Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins

On Super Bowl Sunday, 26 year old David Higgins was driving with his 4 year old child in his car when he went through a Wendy's drive through in Clearwater, Florida.  At the drive through, Wendy's employees noticed that Higgins had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, had bloodshot eyes and was slurring his speech.  Concerned about the safety of the child in his car, a Wendy's manager told Higgins to pull his car into a spot while his food was being cooked and then called the police.  When police responded shortly afterwards, Higgins claimed that he drank five beers during the game and was driving with his child in the car because he did not think he was that drunk.  After failing several sobriety tests, Higgins was arrested on a DUI charge.  This is Higgins second DUI charge; he was also arrested for a DUI and marijuana possession in 2012.

Higgins is facing mandatory jail time for this DUI, along with a high fine and loss of his license.  Higgins is facing a much stricter sentence for two reasons.  One is that he had a minor in the car with him.  The other reason is that this is his second DUI within five years.  The sentence for a second DUI, with a minor in the car is up to 12 months in jail, with a minimum sentence of 10 days, 48 hours of which must be served consecutively.  Higgins also faces a fine of between $2000 and $4000 and loss of his license for a minimum of five years. 

Even when Higgins is out of jail, his fine is paid and he has his license back, there is another, non-criminal, problem that he is going to have to deal with – a steep increase in his insurance rates, if he can get insurance at all.  In Florida, a DUI remains on a driver's record for 75 years, meaning that unlike a speeding ticket or other claim which raised insurance rates; this will be on Higgins's driving record for the rest of his life.  The fact that this could be his second DUI in just a few years means that his insurance premiums could skyrocket – assuming that he can find insurance again at all outside a few select carriers.

Additionally, there are different requirements that Higgins probably already has had to deal with since he has a DUI on his record.  In Florida, you must have car insurance which provides $10,000 personal injury protection and $10,000 property protection at a minimum.  However, this law changes once there is a DUI conviction.  In that case, you must purchase significantly more insurance and provide proof to the state that you've done so.  With a DUI conviction, the minimum personal injury coverage that must be purchased is $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident and the minimum property damage protection is $50,000.  If you don't have insurance with such high coverage limits, there is a form which has to be provided to the state for three years after a licenses suspension is lifted.  Besides the sharp increase to insurance which a driver can have just because of a DUI on their record, the increased coverage also would cost more.