Arrested While on Vacation in Florida– Now What?

October 7, 2021 Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving/DUI

It’s no shock that Florida’s warm weather, beautiful beaches, amusement parks, and other vibrant attractions make it one of the nation’s leading vacation destinations. In fact, the state attracted nearly 87 million tourists in 2020. Although this number is low compared to the 131 million that flocked to Florida in 2019, the fact the state was still able to garnish so much tourism in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic speaks to what a hot spot Florida is for vacationing.

If your vacation takes an unprecedented turn, it is imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the legal system here in Florida. Retaining knowledgeable counsel ensures that you will be able to save time and money, as some situations allow a criminal defense lawyer to appear on your behalf instead of requiring you to return to Florida from your home state.

I’m Out on Bail ­– Do I Have to Stay in Florida?

You will be able to return to your home state unless a judge orders you to remain in the county you were arrested in for your first appearance. For later court hearings, certain situations permit you to waive your physical presence and instead have an attorney appear on your behalf.

When Can a Lawyer Appear on My Behalf?

If you were charged with a misdemeanor, you will likely be issued a Promise to Appear, Notice to Appear or PTA/NTA. Although this promise to appear is considered a technical arrest, you are not physically arrested by law enforcement. For such charges, you may retain an attorney to represent and defend you in court without being present. 

Furthermore, your presence in specific instances can be waived if you were charged with a felony but the offense qualifies for pre-trial diversion

DUI Exception

If you were vacationing in Florida and were charged with driving under the influence, you must appear in court. This rule stems from the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, which is comprised of forty-five states including Florida. Under this compact, states agree to exchange data between a driver’s home state and the state in which the driving violation occurred. Therefore, crimes that occur in other states are ultimately treated as if they occurred in the driver’s home state. The compact operates under the motto “One Driver, One License, One Record.” As a result, if you fail to appear your driver’s license privileges will be suspended and law enforcement may issue a warrant for your arrest. For such reasons, it is crucial you retain a skilled attorney who can guide you through the legal system and help you avoid such detrimental consequences. If you would like to read about Florida DUI FAQ’s, click here.

Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney

Being arrested in a different state adds layers of confusion and worry to an already stressful situation. If you were charged with a crime while on vacation in Florida, it is incredibly important you seek the help of a knowledgeable Tallahassee criminal defense attorney that will ensure your rights are zealously fought for during every stage of the legal process, while also taking into account the time and money required to travel from your home state to Florida. Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have years of experience defending a wide variety of criminal charges in Florida. Call us today at (850) 681-7777 or send an online message today to discuss your case during an open and free consultation with an attorney in our legal team.

This article was written by Sarah Kamide

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