Arrested In Florida, Live Out Of State – What Do I Do?
Tourism is arguably the most important part of Florida’s economy, with approximately 104 million travelers visiting the state in the first three quarters of 2022 (about a 15 percent increase over 2021). Travelers love Florida for its weather and on-the-go lifestyle, but sometimes, it is all too easy to make bad decisions or get caught up in the moment – particularly if drugs or alcohol are involved. If you are arrested for drug possession, DUI, or any other substance-related offense in Florida, but you live out of state, you may be unsure about what to do next.
Do Not Ignore The Warrant!
The most important thing you need to be aware of is if there is a warrant for your arrest in Florida, you cannot ignore it or simply hope it will be a nonissue if you never visit the state. Florida is one of the signatories of the Uniform Interstate Extradition Act, which allows people to be extradited from other states – and while this generally does not happen for misdemeanor offenses, if you have committed a drug-related crime, a state’s attorney may make an exception.
Even if your crime is small enough to avoid extradition, a warrant for your arrest can cause consequences going forward. An outstanding warrant can show up on a background check for a prospective employer or landlord, and arrest warrants never expire – they must be dealt with one way or another, or they will never be off your record. Despite the potential inconveniences, it is generally best to deal with the problem if at all possible.
Options To Avoid Travel May Be Available
Florida law treats drug offenses harshly, because of the state’s history with trafficking and addiction – sentences are among the strictest in the United States. The definition of a misdemeanor or a felony primarily depends on the specific drug involved, and the amount in question. What this means is that if you were stopped with a small amount of one drug, you may face a misdemeanor charge, but the same amount of another drug may still yield a felony charge because the drug itself is more dangerous.
If you have been charged with a drug offense in Florida, hiring an experienced attorney to help you manage the case is crucial. In many situations, particularly involving certain misdemeanors like simple possession, you may be able to obtain what is known as a Promise to Appear (PTA). A PTA may allow your attorney to appear on your behalf, and even possibly accept a plea deal on your behalf, depending on the specific facts of your case. If it does not, there still may be other options to cut down on any required travel time.
Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Offenses Attorney
A trip to Florida can be a joy – but it can be all too easy to make mistakes that can get you in significant legal trouble. If you have been charged with a drug offense in Florida, but you live out of state, contacting a knowledgeable West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney is imperative. The firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help guide you through the legal process. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.