Great Lawyers, Free Speech and DUI: It's Cinco de Mayo at FindLaw!

By FindLaw Staff on May 05, 2015 | Last updated on May 04, 2022

This post was updated on May 4, 2022

Guess what day it is? It's Cinco de Mayo!

And like so many holidays in this country, the celebration starts out seriously, with a remembrance of Mexican heritage and deteriorates to drinking, partying, and more drinking. As some may argue is also typical for American celebrations of another country's holiday, it is filled with misconceptions. The holiday celebrates the Mexican Army's victory over French colonizers at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It has grown in popularity to be celebrated here in America as well. To clear it up further: Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day. That day falls on September 16.

History lesson aside, we hope you enjoy this roundup of the best, worst, and interesting tidbits the legal world has to offer for Cinco de Mayo.

1. Hispanic National Bar Association Promotes Young Lawyers

Diversity in the legal profession enriches it. The HNBA, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, plays its part by celebrating up-and-coming attorneys of Hispanic heritage. In 2021, the organization highlighted 26 young lawyers in its ranks from across the country.

2. U.S. Flags on Cinco de Mayo and Students' Speech Rights

In one of the most prominent Cinco de Mayo-related cases in the U.S., four students in Morgan Hill, California, were asked to remove their American flag t-shirts and bandanas on Cinco de Mayo. The students claimed it was a First Amendment violation. The school claimed it was a disruption in a school with a large Mexican-American student population. According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the school wins. The right to free speech is not absolute for students in school, and administrators can restrict it if it is likely to cause substantial disruption. The Supreme Court agreed when it refused to take up the students' appeal.

3. Avoid a Cinco de Mayo Arrest

It may seem impossible, but you can have too much fun on Cinco de Mayo. Don't cross the line though. Police in many cities with especially lively Cinco de Mayo celebrations will be on the lookout for drunk drivers and other troublemakers. Don't get in a bar fight, don't urinate in public, and please remember to use a designated driver. Of course, you always have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and you can refuse a field sobriety test. But you definitely don't want to wake up in jail on May 6, and the easiest way to do that is to stay out of trouble.

4. Keep Your Cinco de Mayo Work Celebrations Professional

Some workplaces are more festive than others. That said, some workplaces also are less professional than others. If you want to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration at your office, that's OK, as long as you keep a few things in mind. Work and alcohol usually don't mix. It can also lead to lawsuits. If workers want to gather for happy hour after work off company time, that's one thing. Maybe just a catered lunch or treating your team to a meal out is a better idea. Additionally, your employees have lives, so remember not to force them to have fun after work hours. 

If the party gets out of hand, and you do get into legal trouble, remember that lawyers are always here to help. Have a happy, fun, and safe Cinco de Mayo.

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