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Out-of-State Visitor DUI

With all of its beaches, shopping, and other recreational attractions, Florida has become quite the tourist hot spot. Unfortunately, what many tourists fail to actively realize is that even though they are visitors from out of state, it is Florida’s laws that they must respect on their visit. This can result in an otherwise happy vacation or visit turning sour with an arrest for a criminal offense such as DUI. A DUI charge in Florida is something that you will deal with long after you return home. An experienced, local DUI defense lawyer in Pinellas County or the surrounding areas can handle your DUI charge in Florida while you return to life at home.

St. Petersburg Out-of-State Visitor DUI Lawyer

Dealing with a DUI charge is stressful by itself. Dealing with a Florida DUI charge when you are a nonresident only complicates matters further. If you are a nonresident facing a DUI charge in Pinellas County, Manatee County, Pasco County, Hillsborough County, or Sarasota County, contact the experienced St Petersburg DUI defense attorneys of Morris Law Firm, P.A. today. Melinda Morris has over a decade of experience on both sides of the courtroom, and she and her team will use this knowledge to find a favorable solution for your out-of-state Florida DUI. To schedule your free consultation with Melinda Morris and Morris Law Firm, P.A., call (727) 388-4736 today.

Florida DUI for Out-of-State Visitors

According to Fla. Stat. § 316.193 it is a misdemeanor for a person to be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in Florida while either having a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, or while his or her normal faculties – such as walking, hearing, talking, and depth perception – are inhibited by drugs or alcohol.  Actual physical control means a person is driving or capable of driving or operating a motor vehicle. This includes scenarios like being right outside the vehicle with keys in hand, or being inside the vehicle with the keys in the ignition.

Even as a visitor to the state of Florida, you are expected to follow the laws, rules, and regulations of the state , including those for DUI. Being from out of state is not a valid defense against a Florida DUI conviction. Failure to abide by Florida’s DUI laws could result in the following consequences for a first DUI conviction, which may have to be completed in the state of Florida:

  • $500 – $1000 fine
  • 180 days -1-year driver’s license suspension
  • Up to 10-day vehicle impoundment
  • Up to 6 months of probation and/or prison time
  • Possible ignition interlock device
  • Community service hours
  • Alcohol awareness and/or treatment programs

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 Reducing Florida Court Appearances for Out-of-State Visitors

A DUI charge is already a costly offense. Add in the back-and-forth travel potentially required for an out-of-state defendant, and you have more money and time lost for one mistake. An experienced and local DUI defense attorney for Pinellas or Hillsborough County can help mitigate time and money spent traveling to Florida through taking over the paperwork and implementing specific strategies. Some of the strategies available to your St. Petersburg area defense attorney for your out-of-state DUI offense include:

  • Fighting to have the case dismissed before trial
  • Plea bargaining down to a wet reckless with deferred adjudication
  • Working for a Pre-trial Diversion Program in cases of first-time offenders
  • Plea in Absentia
  • Mail-in Probation
  • Transference of probation, community service, and other sanctions to your home state

What strategies are available to your case will vary on the circumstances surrounding it and your criminal background. However, it is always strongly advised that a non-resident charged with Florida DUI contact a local DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after his or her DUI arrest.

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Interstate Driver’s License Compact

A common misconception is that receiving a driving-related offense in a state you don’t reside in will not result in consequences on your driving privileges in your home state, such as an administrative license suspension. The reality is that if you don’t have both the administrative and criminal consequences on your driving privileges in Florida dismissed, reduced, or otherwise resolved, they will follow you back to your home state.

This is due to the interstate Driver’s License Compact. The Driver’s License Compact is an agreement between 46 states, including Florida, to exchange information concerning license suspensions and traffic violations incurred by residents out-of-state. This usually occurs via the National Driver Register. Florida also exchanges driving privilege information with Quebec. The only states that are not a part of the exchange are Massachusetts, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Tennessee.

After the exchange of information regarding your DUI charge, the home state will then apply its own DUI penalties like suspensions to your driving privilege. An experienced Florida DUI defense attorney can help battle the charge itself as well as fight to protect your driving privileges in your home state.

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Morris Law Firm, P.A. | Pinellas County Defense Attorney for Out-of-State DUI

If you are not a resident of Florida, but have been charged with Florida DUI in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Pinellas Park, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Largo, High Point, Seminole, Belleair, Bradenton, or the surrounding areas, contact the experienced DUI defense attorneys of Morris Law Firm, P.A. in Pinellas County today. Melinda Morris and Morris Law Firm, P.A. will fight to get your DUI case dismissed, or otherwise work towards a favorable solution for your out-of-state situation. Call (727) 388-4736 today for your free consultation.