With its sunny beaches and almost year-round tropical climate, Florida is understandably a popular destination for Canadians seeking warmer weather from their vacation abroad. As enjoyable as a visit to the “Sunshine State” can be, though, it is still foreign territory for Canadian citizens. That can make the process of dealing with criminal charges or a serious personal injury here much more difficult.
If you have found yourself in legal trouble while away from home, you should make it a top priority to contact local legal counsel. A Florida lawyer representing Canadian citizens could help a tourist or visitor who has been injured in an accident or charged with a crime in a country other than their own.
While the Government of Canada can provide legal advice and assist with complaints about discrimination or abuse through its Consular Services, they cannot make a Canadian citizen who is visiting another country immune from that country’s laws. If someone from Canada is arrested on suspicion of violating Florida state law, they would be subject to prosecution in the state of Florida, and they would need to retain a local defense attorney if they want to seek a favorable resolution to their case.
Among other things, a Florida lawyer representing Canadian citizens and other foreign nationals can play a key role in negotiating for a detained citizen to return home to Canada while their case is ongoing. The lawyer then handles their case in their absence. This is generally much easier to accomplish with misdemeanor charges as compared to felonies punishable by multiple years in Florida state prison. A qualified attorney could discuss possible options for a specific situation during a private initial meeting.
Just like criminal law, Florida civil law also applies to people visiting from Canada just like it does to U.S. citizens. That means any Canadian national who gets injured in an accident caused by someone else while visiting here can pursue civil litigation against that irresponsible person.
Fortunately, Florida civil law is broadly similar to Canadian civil law in that most personal injury claims revolve around “negligence”—in other words, establishing that someone else’s irresponsible breach of their duty of care was the direct and primary cause of the injury.
That said, there are numerous differences between Canada and Florida in how courts interpret various aspects of tort law, as well as the costs of medical treatment and legal services. Florida is also somewhat unique even among U.S. states in having a “no-fault” car insurance system, under which there may be substantial limitations on when an injured motorist can file a civil lawsuit. Once again, a Florida lawyer who knows how to represent Canadian citizens can go over the ins and outs of a particular case over the course of a confidential consultation.
Visiting Florida as a Canadian citizen can be a dramatic change of pace. Unfortunately, the differences in local laws can sometimes cause confusion for Canadian visitors who need to navigate them, whether it is to recover financially after an accident or to defend themselves from a criminal accusation.
In both situations, guidance from a Florida lawyer representing Canadian citizens could be essential to securing a positive result from your unique case. Learn more by calling The Umansky Law Firm today.
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