Florida DUI Arrests for Out of State DriversA DUI arrest is understandably a difficult and stressful experience. However, a DUI arrest that occurs while you are visiting the St. Petersburg / Clearwater area from out of town, can be particularly troubling. Once you have returned home, you are likely to experience frustration with the dilemma of now having to comply with your “long distance” Pinellas County criminal court obligations. It is likely that you also have a multitude of questions regarding your driving privilege. The highly rated attorneys in our office routinely represent persons who are charged with a crime when visiting Florida on vacation.
Pinellas DUI While Visiting from Another State?
– We Are Experienced in Helping Out of State Drivers –
The truth of the matter is that you are not alone. Florida’s business and tourist climate attracts millions of visitors each year. During their limited stay, many out of town folks find themselves arrested or charged with DUI or another criminal offense. Often, their travel plans mandate that they leave Florida long before their DUI or other criminal charge can be resolved.
We may be able to Handle Your DUI Case without Your Need to Return to Pinellas County
We are accustomed to helping people whose obligations back home prevent them from returning to Florida to deal with their pending DUI charge. They trust us to protect their driving privileges and zealously defend them in court. They also, look to us to avoid the inconvenience and expense that traveling back to Pinellas County would likely entail.
“Double Trouble” for Out of State Drivers Charged with a Florida DUI
Under Florida DUI law, a DUI charge carries the possibility of two different driver license suspensions. The first suspension is “administrative” in nature. This suspension occurs on the night of the arrest and is imposed as a result of a breath test reading of a .08 or higher, or as a result of “refusing” to blow into the breath test machine. The second driver license suspension is a “court-ordered” suspension. This suspension only occurs upon conviction for the DUI offense.
An out of state driver charged with a Pinellas DUI risks losing their driving privileges both in Florida and back in their home state. As you will discover, even though your driver’s license was issued by a State other than Florida, the Florida DHSMV will still seek an “administrative suspension” of your driving privilege. Although this suspension will originate in Florida, there is a high probability of the suspension being forwarded to your home state as well.
A system known as The National Driver Registry (NDR) provides 45 member states with a method for honoring all driver license suspensions issued by sister states. As a result, if you have a Florida DUI arrest with out of state license, it could likely result in a Florida administrative driver’s license suspension following you home.
The same is true for any driver’s license suspension that is imposed by the Pinellas County court system after a conviction for DUI. Since this is the “Information Age,” this “court-ordered” driver’s license suspension will easily be transmitted back to your home state via the NDR. This separate driver’s license suspension will most likely be honored by the State where you reside. Don’t make the mistake of believing that a Florida DUI arrest with out of state license won’t have any effect on your privilege to drive at home. In fact, just the opposite is true.
Time is of the Essence in Protecting Your Rights and Privilege to Drive!
Fortunately, there are methods for challenging the administrative suspension of your driver’s license and for challenging the DUI case in court. However, the administrative suspension must be attacked within 10 days of the date of your DUI arrest. Because a Florida DUI charge poses a “double threat” to your driving privilege, it is important to aggressively fight the case at the DHSMV level and in the Pinellas County criminal court system.
When you call our office for a free initial consultation, we will explain the ramifications of the administrative driver’s license suspension. We may be able to prevent the Florida DHSMV from directing your home state to suspend your privilege to drive by challenging the administrative suspension. In addition, we can seek a temporary driving permit that enables you to continue driving beyond the 10 days from the date of your DUI arrest. Such a driving permit would allow you to drive for “hardship purposes,” such as church, work, school, and medical appointments.
In most situations, we can summarily handle your first Pinellas court date for you, without the need for your personal appearance in the courtroom. Upon hiring our DUI attorneys, the first order of business will be to dispose of the necessity for you to appear at the first scheduled court date appearing on your DUI citation or criminal arrest affidavit.
There are many tactics that could be effective in dealing with your DUI case in court. Using these strategies effectively could make the difference as to the length of the potential driver’s license suspension imposed by the Pinellas County judge, or result in the elimination of any driver’s license suspension whatsoever.
- Our DUI lawyers can consult with you over the phone to learn the facts and circumstances that led to the stop of your motor vehicle and your arrest for DUI;
- If you promptly act within ten days of your arrest to secure our services, we can file the necessary legal documents to challenge the administrative suspension of your drivers license caused by your unlawful breath test reading or your refusal to submit to the Intoxilyzer;
- We can seek the issuance of a temporary driving permit that will extend your ability to lawfully operate a motor vehicle beyond the limited ten day period referenced at the bottom of your DUI traffic citation;
- We can provide you with a copy of the narrative police report, field sobriety test supplements, and the videotape taken in your case;
- We can obtain, review, and forward the breath test report and the maintenance records associated with the calibration of the Intoxilyzer;
- We can advise you on how to accomplish any necessary court obligations for the DUI case in your home state, without the need to return to the St. Petersburg / Clearwater area. Such a proactive approach may impress your judge and can often help to minimize the impact of certain DUI penalties;
- After our office has undertaken a full review of all the evidence in your Pinellas County DUI case, we will conference with you over the phone in order to discuss the best strategy for resolving your charge. The facts and circumstances of every case are different and require careful consideration and review. Some possible remedies might include a Motion to Dismiss, a Motion to Suppress statements or field sobriety tests. In other situations, a Motion to exclude the breath test result or “refusal evidence” may be appropriate;
- Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, it may be possible for our office to negotiate a reduction of the DUI charge to a reckless driving offense;
- In other cases, we may be able to secure the most minimal DUI penalties possible by engaging in negotiations with the prosecutor and the judge (plea bargain).
Resolving Your Case May Not Require You to Appear in Court
Because you reside in a State outside of Florida, the rules of criminal procedure will often allow your case to be resolved through a “Plea in Absentia.” A “Plea in Absentia” allows your lawyer to conclude the case without the need for you to return to Pinellas County, Florida or personally appear in the courtroom.
Free Consultation Right Over the Phone
If you were charged with a DUI while visiting St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, Largo, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Gulfport, Pasadena, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores, Madeira Beach and Belleair, it is imperative that you act quickly to secure the services of a knowledgeable lawyer. We offer free telephone consultations and will be happy to discuss your case by phone. Our highly experienced DUI attorneys are accustomed to helping out of state drivers who have been charged with DUI. Call us at (727) 578-0303.
We Can Help!