What to Do after Being Arrested as a Tourist in Florida
Millions of people visit the Sunshine State every year to relax at one of our beautiful beaches or enjoy a day at one of the many world-class theme parks. While most follow our laws, others do not. Some may engage in reckless or illegal activities, causing police officers to arrest them. An out-of-state arrest can be a strain on your ability to return to your home. It may require multiple court appearances, and you might have to deal with a conviction.
Several negatives come with a non-resident arrest in Florida, so protect yourself by hiring an Orlando criminal defense attorney. Your attorney may represent you in court and provide legal guidance during a stressful time in your life, and may be able to help you reduce the number of times you must travel to Florida to resolve your legal issue.
Common Tourist Crimes in Central Florida
There are a few offenses that law enforcement officers watch out for when it comes to tourists. Some of the most common of these charges include:
While these crimes may seem minor to some, penalties could be significant. Depending on the offense and facts surrounding the case, courts may charge you with a first or second-degree misdemeanor or a first, second, or third-degree felony. Penalties might result in hefty fines or jail time, the latter of which can prevent you from returning home for years.
What State Has Jurisdiction Over an Out-of-State Arrest?
The state in which an individual commits a crime has jurisdiction over the charges and legal procedures. For example, a tourist from Maine visits Orlando and receives a DUI charge. The State of Florida would have the power to prosecute the case. However, depending on the charges, a local attorney may be able to work with the District Attorney to allow you to return to your home state while they represent you in court. Remember, you may still have to return to Florida if you have to serve jail time.
Regardless of the charge, most courts will require an out-of-state defendant to post bail, which can be expensive. As long as you return for your court hearing or have an attorney represent you, you will receive a refund for the amount. If you flee, a judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. When courts issue arrests warrants, your home state can transport you back to the state where you are facing charges.
Should I Hire a Local Criminal Defense Attorney?
After you are arrested and booked, you need to decide if you want to hire a local attorney or one from your home state. You may want a criminal defense attorney from home to represent you, but they may not be familiar or knowledgeable in Florida law. You might also have to cover their travel and lodging fees. Hiring a Central Florida defense lawyer might be a better solution because they are:
- Up to date on all local statutes and regulations
- Aware of state procedural rules
- Well-connected with state prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officers
- Experienced in handling state criminal charges
- Familiar with Florida’s court operations
Remember, prosecutors can and will use anything you say against you in court. Therefore, we recommend you contact an attorney and do not answer any questions until they arrive at the police station. Additionally, never sign any documents until an attorney thoroughly reviews them.
Contact The Umansky Law Firm and Start Building Your Defense Today
If you or a loved one is facing charges in Florida as a tourist, contact The Umansky Law Firm. We know how to prepare a strong defense that stands up in trial. Our reputation as aggressive lawyers means that we may be able to negotiate favorable results for our clients. As former Florida state prosecutors, we will look to exploit any loopholes and attack weak spots in the prosecution’s case against you. Allow us to put our 100 years of combined experience to work on your behalf. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.