Florida DUIs & Out of State Tourists

Millions of tourists visit Florida every year. They come to spend time at the beaches, visit Disney and take cruises. Unfortunately, some end up leaving Florida with more than they came with - in particular, a DUI (driving while under the influence) charge. Many tourists don't realize how a Florida DUI affects their driving privileges in their home state.

How does a Florida DUI affects tourists in their home state?

We asked David Katz, a Florida attorney whose practice focuses in the areas of DUI and criminal defense to answer that question in a recent interview. He told us, "Most tourists don't want to come back to go to court and generally, the state attorneys are much more willing to deal if they know the person isn't going to be driving on Florida's roads. A DUI in Florida will very likely affect their driving privileges in their home state. If they have prior DUIs in their home state or anywhere else in the country, they will count toward the level of the charge in Florida, because each subsequent DUI is penalized harsher and harsher."

You must request a hearing in 10 days

If Florida administratively suspends your driver's license, your state will recognize that suspension, according to Katz. He explained, "Some states will only recognize a court-ordered suspension, but most states will recognize the Department of Motor Vehicles suspension. If you don't request that hearing within ten days, then it doesn't matter who you hire or how much you spend, your driver's license will be administratively suspended and nobody will be able to stop it."

You can return home. But…

Katz says that tourists can generally return home after a DUI. He told us that while a court can order that they do not, he admits that it doesn't generally happen. However, he was quick to point out, "The thing that people have to realize, though, is that probation has to be transferred under the interstate compact on probation, and if the court or the probation officer's unwilling to do it or their home state won't accept the transfer, they may not be able to go home if they plea to it. They may have to stay in Florida. That's not just in Florida either, that's everywhere now. It's a new interstate agreement for probation and it particularly applies when somebody has a prior DUI. On a second DUI, there are a lot of people who have a lot of problems with that."

Don't go it alone

DUI is not something people should try and do themselves, according to Katz. "If you go home and forget about it, a warrant for your arrest will be issued. So, anytime you have contact with law enforcement after that, you can be arrested. I would advise tourists, or anyone else who gets a DUI in Florida, to contact an attorney who specializes in DUI defense. We offer a free initial consultation, so there's nothing to lose. For tourists, we will do it over the phone. We can also do all work necessary for them to hire us and pay us via fax, email and telephone. Of course, I always prefer to meet somebody face to face, but if that's not possible because they're in New Jersey, we understand that. If fact, we do a lot of work with people outside the state."

If you have questions about a DUI in Florida, contact an experienced Florida DUI attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.