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Arrested on Vacation in Florida? We Can Help with Your Out-of-State Charges

Jim kontos
By James Kontos

Over a million tourists come to Brevard County every year to enjoy some of the best beaches and sightseeing in Florida. Unfortunately, sometimes a relaxing break can turn into a legal nightmare when travelers get arrested while on vacation. Whether it’s a DUI charge, possession of alcohol by a minor or a controlled substance, solicitation, or any other offense, hiring an experienced Brevard County defense attorney is the first step in dealing with a Florida arrest.

If you have been arrested or are facing charges while on vacation in Florida, call James Kontos, Criminal Defense Attorney at (321) 242-9777 or request a confidential case evaluation. During our confidential consultation, we will evaluate your charges, go over possible penalties, and develop a defense strategy for obtaining the best outcome possible.

How to Deal With Out-of-State Criminal Charges

While Florida sees vacationers from all over the world, most visitors are from other states in the US. To ensure that you get the best possible outcome for your out-of-state arrest, you need to hire a local Florida attorney who knows the state’s court system.

Each state has jurisdiction over crimes that occur within that state. This means that if you are charged with a criminal offense in Brevard County Florida, that is where all the court hearings will take place. There are many court hearings that may require the attendance of the defendant. However, en experiences criminal defense attorney may be able to resolve your case without you having to return to court.

Can I return home while I’m out on bail?

Unless a judge orders you to remain in Brevard County at your first court appearance, you will be able to return to your state of residence. For later court hearings, a waiver of appearance will usually excuse you appearance in court. It is also possible your case can be resolved with a written plea (plea in absentia) that would not require your to personally appear in court.

For later appearances, a local attorney will do everything possible to convince the court to allow the hearing to go forward without your presence, if you have agreed in writing to allow that to happen. If you are released on bail, your local Florida defense attorney will ask the court for an order allowing you to return to your home state if you agree to come back to Florida for all required court hearings.

What if I can’t make it back for my trial?

In some cases, you may not need to return to Florida for a criminal trial. The instances where your lawyer may appear on your behalf are:

    • You were charged with a misdemeanor while on vacation in Florida: For a misdemeanor charge in Florida, officers may issue a Notice to Appear (NTA), which is considered a technical arrest, or take you to the jail for booking. With a misdemeanor charge, you may waive your physical presence in writing and allow a Florida defense attorney to represent you in court. This will permit your lawyer to build your case, request state evidence, and even accept a plea bargain on your behalf, all while you are at home taking care of personal matters.
    • Your alleged offense qualifies for a PTD (Pre-Trial Diversion): Many misdemeanors and some felony charges may be eligible for PTD. Although PTD is a Brevard County supervised program, if you are eligible your attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to allow you to complete the program in your home state. You can learn more about Florida’s PTD program here.

What can you be charged with while on vacation in Brevard County?

Vacations are a time to relax and have fun. For many, this may involve drinking or recreational drug use. What is legal in your home state, may not be legal here. For example, recreational marijuana is not legal in Florida. So vacationers from Colorado or Oregon may get arrested for smoking or vaping in Florida, even though their home state allows it. This translates into some of the most common offense committed by vacationers in Florida. Common Florida tourism charges that we defend include:

        • Driving under the influence (DUI)
        • Possession of alcohol by a minor
        • Domestic violence
        • Solicitation
        • Disorderly conduct
        • Simple assault
        • Simple battery
        • Drug offenses
        • Trespassing
        • Theme park theft/shoplifting
        • Traffic violations
        • Resisting arrest
        • Fraud
        • Shoplifting
        • Sexual offenses

What are the penalties for being charged with a crime while on vacation in Florida?

As with any other state, penalties in Florida differ depending on the alleged offense. Certain crimes carry a minimum sentence under Florida law that may be more severe than the penalty for the same crime in your home state.

These penalties can escalate if you do not deal with your charges promptly and appropriately. If you fail to appear for a required court appearance, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest. This information is shared with jurisdictions across the country. A simple traffic stop in your home state could result in an arrest for your failure to appear at a court hearing in Florida.

Furthermore, the record of any verdict issued in a Florida criminal case will become part of your criminal record in your home state, unless you are able to have your record sealed or expunged. Any probation or parole agreements can be enforced in your home state and violations of these agreements may result in additional charges and possible jail time in Florida.

How can a local criminal defense attorney help resolve my out-of-state charges?

With the help of a local, Brevard Counry criminal defense attorney, possible resolutions for your case include:

        • Charges are dismissed. There may have been a lack of probable cause for the arrest, an illegal search, or The prosecution simply does not have enough evidence to proceed with the case. Charges can sometimes be dismissed through consultation with the prosecution shortly after arrest so contacting a Brevard County criminal defense attorney immediately after arrest is important.
        • Misdemeanor charges. If you were not arrested but were issued a Notice to Appear (NTA), you can waive, in writing, your presence at court hearings. This allows your local attorney to represent you at court hearings and accept a plea on your behalf without you needing to be present.
        • Pre-Trial Diversion (PTD). If the offense qualifies for PTD, your local attorney may represent you on some specific matters without you being present if you waive your presence in writing. If you successfully complete your PTD, your charges will be dismissed.
        • Negotiate a settlement with the prosecutor. This may mean a no contest or guilty plea to the offense charged, a reduced charge or a traffic offense. In Florida, your attorney can negotiate a withhold of adjudication on many charges, which will not result in a formal charge of guilty (conviction) being entered on your record.
        • Trial. If you and your local defense attorney agree that it is in your best interest to take your case to trial, there may be hearings at which your presence is required. A local attorney will do everything possible to quickly resolve your case and minimize hearings requiring your presence. Your attorney will review the evidence against you, investigate the case, develop a strategy for defending you, and discuss the risks and benefits of a trial.

If you or a loved one are facing charges stemming from a vacation in Florida, contact James Kontos today! We have the experience needed to get charges resolved quickly so you can get out from under this burden, and back to living your life.