Defending the Rights of the Accused for 30 Years


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

Jim kontos
By James Kontos

Millions of 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, 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 getting you 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 its 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 require the attendance of the defendant, including the arraignment, but others may be handled by your attorney.

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

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 PTA, or Promise to Appear, which is considered a technical arrest, rather than a physical one. With a PTA, 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): Some 3rd degree felony charges may be eligible for a PTD which will allow you to waive your presence of certain matters. However, it is recommended (though not necessarily required) that you be present at trial and subsequent court dates. 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 instance, 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)
        • Domestic violence
        • Solicitation
        • Disorderly conduct
        • Simple assault
        • Simple battery
        • Drug offenses
        • Solicitation
        • Trespassing
        • Theme Park Theft/Shoplifting
        • Traffic violations
        • Resisting arrest
        • Fraud
        • Shoplifting

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 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 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, Rockledge 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.
        • Misdemeanor charges. If you were not arrested but were issued a Promise to Appear (PTA), 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.
          Negotiate a settlement with the prosecutor. This may mean a guilty plea to the offense charged or to a lesser offense.

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.

If you or a loved one are facing charges stemming from a vacation in Florida, contact the 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.