Is a DUI your surprise souvenir from a Florida vacation?

When you scheduled your Florida vacation, you probably hoped to come home with an incredible tan. Instead, you ended up in legal trouble and came back with pending charges in another state. That can be an incredibly scary situation. One of the most common legal issues for tourists involves driving under the influence charges. While Florida has similar legal limits for alcohol when compared with other states, it's easier to make bad decisions when you're kicking back on your vacation.

Maybe you didn't realize you'd had too much to drink. Perhaps the sun had left you dehydrated and more susceptible to the alcohol. Whatever the reason, you need to take those criminal charges seriously. The state of Florida has a very strict approach to DUI offenses. Failing to defend yourself against these charges could have severe consequences for you.

You can't just go home and forget about it

Usually, when something bad happens on vacation, you can just head back home and pretend it never happened. For issues like food poisoning or a fight with your family, that approach works. For problems like outstanding criminal charges, however, ignoring them could make your situation much worse.

Failing to appear in court can lead to harsher penalties and potentially additional criminal charges. At the time of your arrest, law enforcement collects your identification, so they know where you live. That means that they can ask the local police in your area to arrest you and extradite you to Florida. The only thing worse than getting arrested on vacation is getting arrested in your hometown over something that happened on vacation.

DUI penalties can result in jail time and special classes

Florida has a very no-nonsense approach to DUI enforcement. A first offense carries a fine of between $500 and $1,000 and up to six months in jail. If this is your second DUI charge in Florida, you could face a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000 and up to nine months in jail. It's pretty easy to see how the consequences of even a first DUI charge could ruin your life.

Even if you somehow avoid most of the potential penalties, simply needing to return to Florida for court could destroy your budget or cost you your job. Thankfully, because tourism is such a significant source of revenue in the state of Florida, the courts may allow some helpful options for tourists facing charges. In some cases, your Florida state defense attorney can appear in court in your place. That can save you the return trip. It may also be possible for you to serve your sentence or complete other penalties in your home state instead of in Florida.

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