LAS VEGAS - The drinks are flowing for Fourth of July weekend. Some drivers are already in jail, because they chose to get behind the wheel drunk. Police set up the first of many weekend DUI checkpoints Friday night.
Metro conducted one checkpoint at Charleston Boulevard and Jones Boulevard, because the area has been a hotspot for drunk drivers.
Cars pull up to a given checkpoint. Officers ask the drivers if they have been drinking or using drugs. If police have cause for concern, they will pull the car off the road and conduct a field sobriety test. If necessary, officers will administer a breathalyzer test or draw the driver's blood.
Those who are driving while drunk or on drugs get their cars towed. They also get a trip to the Clark County Detention Center.
Police say they are targeting Independence Day weekend for a reason.
"This is going to be a long weekend. Fourth of July weekend is one of the deadliest weekends for traffic accidents and DUI-related arrests, so that's why we're out here in force," said Metro Police Lt. Christopher Ankeny.
DUI victims' advocates say the decision to drive while under the influence is a costly one.
"Your first offense, misdemeanor DUI, on the average costs approximately $13,000. That's going to involve your court fees, your fines, your DUI school, the victim impact panel, your attorneys fees, your SR-22, the time away from work, and often times, depending on who you're employed by, you may very well lose your job," said Stop DUI Executive Director Sandy Heverly.
SR-22 is special insurance you must obtain from the Department of Motor Vehicles for three years if you're convicted of a DUI. The insurance plan is very expensive.
Police conducted a second, larger checkpoint just east of the Strip Friday night. All local police agencies will also take part in a DUI checkpoint on Paradise Road near Tropicana Avenue, near the Thomas and Mack Center. That starts 7 p.m. Sunday, and runs until 3 a.m. Monday.
In addition to the checkpoints, saturation patrols will take place, including in Henderson.
If you drink this holiday weekend, police urge you to get a designated driver or call a cab. A $13,000 fine, DUI conviction or worse could cost you and others.