Florida had over 113 million visitors in 2016. That’s a lot (considering the state’s population is just under 21 million). Unfortunately, not everyone who visited returned home without first being arrested. We can help Florida visitors who have a Florida arrest for their criminal defense and for their record expungement.
An Arrest in Florida
Traveling is fun but it can often be stressful too. Money issues are often a cause for stress and the cost of traveling can add to that. Stress can cause us to act irrationally and before we know it, we have done something we regret. Florida visitors need to understand the rights that apply to them in when they are arrested in Florida.
- Right to be represented by counsel (Hire an Attorney)
- Right to a Trial (means you can enter a plea of Not Guilty)
- Right to Confront Witnesses Against You
What Visitors Get Arrested For
Florida visitors who get arrested in Florida typically get charged with domestic violence, theft (shoplifting), or DUI/drugs (marijuana still not legal in Florida). Sometimes it is for more serious offenses or the occasional criminal mischief (destruction of property) or the over charged Resisting Law Enforcement Without Violence.
We even handle the traffic tickets you may get while in Florida. This is a little off-topic but a traffic ticket received in Florida can cause problems in the state you are from if not handled properly.
Making a Decision after the Arrest
The critical juncture after a Florida arrest – to hire a criminal attorney or to enter a plea. The false belief that because you live out-of-state you cannot hire a lawyer AND go back home often leads to an ill advised plea. In most cases, you can enter a plea of NOT GUILTY ( this is a Right, by the way) and go home (wherever that may be).
You will then have the time to contact and hire a lawyer to handle your case. This is a routine practice with Central Florida criminal defense lawyers.
Most criminal cases can be handled by an attorney while you are back home. And most cases do not require you to return in order to resolve the case.
Resolving a Florida Arrest for Florida Visitors
The critical issue will always be how to resolve your case. Your attorney can advise you of the best course of action. Keep in mind the following factors:
- Will I be convicted of a crime, permanently marking my criminal history?
- Will this affect my ability to re-enter the United States (if from another country?
- Will the disposition of my case affect anything in my life now?
These are important issues to consider when deciding the best course of action. Understand that despite these issues, there may be no alternative than to accept responsibility and deal with the consequences.
Expunging or Sealing Your Criminal Record After Resolving Your Florida Arrest
One of the important considerations you must discuss with your attorney is whether or not the resolution of your case will allow you to seal or expunge the record. Sealing or expunging your record is the first step to keeping this out of the public’s eye. This also means keeping from your employer, family and friends, off job applications, etc.
How Can You Expunge Your Florida Record (From Far Away)
Even though you may live in another State or even another country, you can still have an arrest sealed or expunged so long as you qualify. Florida visitors can take advantage of the same laws as Florida residents. Although people try to do this themselves, attempting to do this from a distance can be daunting.
Lawyers can handle everything today with email, phone, text, and skype technology. I have built my practice around the use of technology to make it as easy for my clients as possible. My clients only have to do four things, obtain a copy of their fingerprints from a law enforcement agency and notarize 3 documents. We take care of everything else.
Will You Have to Travel Back to Florida
People who live out-of-state rarely have to return to Florida to complete this process. In the last 20 years, I have never had to have someone travel from outside of Florida. That does not mean it will never happen. If the Court requires a hearing and your presence, then arrangements will have to be made. Of course, all f that would be told to you well in advance.
Will The Distance Cause Unnecessary Delays
As noted above, the use of technology mitigates any delays due to distance. The only possible slow-down may occur due to postal services when you return the originals (fingerprints and three notarized documents).
How Much Will It Cost
The cost of sealing or expunging a criminal record for a person who lives out-of-state is exactly the same for a person who lives locally. Keeping the cost down for everyone is our goal and made much easier with today’s technology.
For More Information About Florida Record Expungements
Please note the date this article was published. The information listed above is subject to change as changes are made to the laws. The information written above is meant only to be for Informational Purposes Only and is not legal advice.
If any corrections or errors are found please notify me as soon as possible.
Eric Dirga has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995. His office is Eric J. Dirga, PA, located in Orlando, FL. He provides legal representation for expungement and sealing of records throughout the state of Florida.
If you found this information useful, please click the [★ Like ] button below.