If you’ve been arrested for a DUI on vacation in Florida, you need to quickly take action to avoid strict penalties and a loss of license. You only have ten days to get your license back.
DUIs for tourists in Florida are not uncommon. Some people get carried away in their vacation spirit; others are unaware of the alcohol limit laws and some people even get unfairly arrested by Florida police.
This guide will tell you what you can do next if you’ve been arrested for a DUI on vacation in Florida.
What To Do If Arrested for a DUI in Florida While on Vacation?
What Is the Legal Limit in Florida?
It is illegal in Florida to drive a vehicle with:
- A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more
- Under the influence of alcohol or illegal controlled substances
- If driving a commercial vehicle, the BAC limit is 0.04% or more
What Happens During the DUI Arrest?
Florida police officers can arrest you, even if you’re from out of state. Officers will usually give you a breathalyzer test or request you to perform a sobriety test.
Your vehicle may also be searched for evidence and potential impounded if they suspect the involvement of drugs.
You should provide the officer with your identity, license and registration, but should not incriminate yourself or admit how much you’ve had to drink.
What Happens After the DUI Arrest?
After the arrest, you will usually be taken to the local police station. Here you’ll need to be bailed out and make your initial plea. Again, do not incriminate yourself here. Request to speak to an attorney.
Will I Need to Go to Court?
Tourism is a huge part of life here in Florida, so the legislature has tried to reduce the requirement to return to Florida for every court appearance.
In most cases, a defendant does not have to be present if they have waived their right to appear in court. In some cases, an attorney can resolve a DUI case through a plea agreement, allowing the tourist to fill out paperwork and fingerprints in their home state.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney As Soon As Possible
Just because you’re from outside Florida, doesn’t mean you can’t be arrested or face the consequences of driving over the limit. If your home state participates in the Interstate Drivers License Compact, a DUI offense may be treated as if it happened in the state where you live.
It is highly advised that you ask to speak to a criminal defense attorney at this point to get your charges dropped and to ensure you can get home.
Most importantly, you should hire a Florida criminal defense attorney – not one from your home state. The laws vary with each state, so you need an expert in local laws and court proceedings to defend you from a DUI.
Our criminal defense attorneys regularly find holes in cases that require the charges to be dropped, such as:
- Proving that the officer stopped you unlawfully
- Proving the field sobriety test was flawed
- Prove the breathalyzer was outdated or used improperly
- Prove that the officer lost patience with your lack of English or understanding of Florida laws, and arrested you
- Prove you had a justified reason for refusing a breathalyzer, such as not understanding the request or medical reasons
Alternatively, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to reduce your charges so your penalties are less severe.
Will Florida Suspend My License?
If arrested for a DUI in Florida, your license will be suspended immediately. You may be given a temporary permit to drive for business only for the following 10 days.
However, if you’re on vacation, a lack of driving privileges may cause you considerable difficulties.
The best thing to do is to contact a criminal defense lawyer who will fight to get these charges dropped or allow you to make your way back home. You have only ten days to get your license back. After this, you will lose your license and any chance to get a temporary permit.
Can You Drive Home If You Lose Your License on Vacation in Florida?
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI on vacation in Florida, then your license is now suspended. You should not drive until you can get a temporary permit or until your charges are dropped.
Florida Statute Section 322, 03 makes it illegal to drive without an active license. If you do, you could end up with another arrest with significant fines and jail time.
What Will Happen in My Home State?
Florida is part of interstate agreements created to allow the share of information about driving offenses. They are called:
- Driver License Compact (DLC)
- Non-Resident Violators Compact (NRVC)
Is Your State Part of the DLC?
The ‘Driver License Compact’ effectively means your DUI on vacation in Florida will be treated as if it happened in your home state.
So your license may be suspended there or face another arrest warrant if you fail to appear in court here in Florida.
The following states are not part of the DLC:
Is My State Part of the NRVC?
If your home state is not part of the DLC, it doesn’t mean you’re free from feeling the consequences just yet.
The NRVC allows participating states to share traffic infraction information of non-resident violators. So if you’re arrested for a DUI on vacation in Florida, then your home state’s DMV will likely know about it.
The following states did not join the NRVC:
What If I’m on Vacation From Abroad?
If you’re on vacation from outside the U.S., then a DUI conviction could prevent you from returning to the USA again. A suspended license may also make it extremely difficult for you to travel back to your accommodation and the airport.
You should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to get your charges dropped before it’s too late.
Hire a Florida DUI Defense Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI on vacation in Florida, then our Florida criminal defense lawyers can help. We can fight aggressively to get your charges dropped and potentially prevent your loss of license.
Sean McQuaid is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg, FL. He has handled countless Florida DUI and DWI charges in his career, including for tourists. He is the president at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with the reputation and connections to make things happen.
With decades of experience helping people like you, we believe there is no better place to help you fight a DUI charge in Florida.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300