If I Get Arrested in Florida But Live in Another State, What Happens to Me?

getting arrested in another stateFlorida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, with visitors traveling far and wide to stick their toes in the sand, enjoy dynamic nightlife, and get a dose of magic at one of the state’s many theme parks. However, it’s not uncommon for vacationers to find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Getting arrested in any situation can be traumatic, but having charges brought against you in another state presents a whole different set of challenges. Which state has jurisdiction to prosecute the offense? Do you have to stay in Florida, or can you go home? How do you find a credible attorney to fight for you?

Here are a few pointers that will help you navigate your criminal charge in Florida.

Who Has Jurisdiction Over the Crime?

The state where the alleged crime occurred is the state that has jurisdiction to prosecute the offense. For instance, if you live in Georgia and were arrested for drunk driving in Florida, it’s Florida that has the right to prosecute you for that criminal offense under Florida law.

It’s important to note that you can be arrested and charged for doing something in Florida that isn’t illegal in your home state. Being unfamiliar with the local law is not an excuse for breaking it. Likewise, the severity of the potential penalty varies state-to-state. You will always be subject to the laws of the state in which the crime occurred, not the laws of your home state.

Can I Leave Florida While Under Arrest?

The process of going through the Florida criminal court system often requires the defendant to appear several times before a judge. Being required to frequently travel back and forth between Florida and your home state can be frustrating and expensive. You may wonder if you’re still required to appear in person if you live in a different state. Your ability to go back to your home state depends entirely on the severity of the alleged crime that was committed.

However, note that you cannot get away with traveling back to your home state in an attempt to avoid prosecution. Endeavoring to do so would result in extradition—the act of removing a fugitive from their home jurisdiction and delivering them back to the jurisdiction in which the crime was committed.

Can I Leave Florida If I Am Charged with a Felony?

Most courts will require an out-of-state defendant to post bail if they are charged with a felony. Bail is an amount of money that a defendant must pay in order to leave jail while awaiting trial. It can be expensive , but bail money will always be returned to the defendant if they comply. If you decide to skip town, however, the money will not be refunded.

So, yes, you can leave Florida if you’ve been charged with a felony and allowed to post bail, though you will be required to return in order to effectively defend against your criminal charges. A local Florida attorney will  best serve to help you understand Florida law.

Can I Leave Florida If I Am Charged with a Misdemeanor?

If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor—and if you have the right Florida attorney on your side—your lawyer may be able to appear in your criminal proceedings on your behalf. Doing so requires that you hire an experienced local attorney.

Can I Leave Florida If I Am Charged with a Violation or Infraction?

Perhaps you received a noise violation, a littering infraction, or a speeding ticket. With any violation or infraction, you’re free to leave Florida and return to your home state. These minor offenses can typically be paid by mail and may result in dings to your driving record. If you think you’ve been falsely charged with an infraction, it may be beneficial to consult with a local attorney who can help you handle the violation.

Contact the Trusted Attorneys at the Umansky Law Firm

Getting arrested and charged with a crime in Florida can be stressful, especially if you live in another state. It’s vital that you hire a skilled local attorney who understands Florida law to help you resolve the matter. The experienced lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are dedicated to making this process as easy as possible. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our team has the time and expertise to help fight for your rights.

Whether you’ve been charged with a felony, a misdemeanor, or a violation, the criminal defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm are experts at helping out-of-state defendants navigate the Florida legal system. Give us a call at (407) 228-3838 or complete our online contact form to receive a free consultation.