If you have been charged with DUI while on spring break in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you’re probably worried about how the charge will affect you once you return home. Will you have to serve jail time in Florida? Could the offense follow you back to school—or even further into the future?
Unfortunately, visiting college students are often unprepared for the effects of an out-of-state DUI. The only way to avoid the negative consequences of a criminal offense is to meet with a Florida DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.
How Florida Law Handles an Out-of-State Driver DUI in Fort Lauderdale
Florida participates in an interstate system to exchange information about traffic violations and coordinate penalties with other states. For example, if you live in Connecticut and get a DUI in Florida, Florida law enforcement will relay the information to your home state so you can complete the terms of your sentence.
You could face penalties in Florida and at home due to the following:
- Non-resident Violator Compact of 1997. The NRVC requires participating states to report any serious traffic violations to the driver’s home state. The only states that are not members of the compact are Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
- Driver License Compact. This interstate agreement requires states to uphold any sanctions put in place by the state where the DUI happened. The most common consequence is having your home state license suspended after a DUI in another state.
- The National Driver Register. All states have a database of driving records for their residents that law enforcement from other states can access. If you’re arrested for a Florida DUI, police can see if you have any previous traffic infractions, if your license has been suspended or revoked, or if you have been previously convicted of a DUI.
Consequences of a Florida DUI for Non-Residents in Fort Lauderdale
When it comes to a Florida DUI, what happens on vacation definitely does not stay on vacation. It’s possible that you could lose your driver’s license, your job, any scholarships, and the ability to continue on your career path.
DUI charges in Florida might result in the following penalties:
- Out-of-pocket expenses. A first-time DUI carries a fine of up to $1,000, high court fees, and the payment of any travel costs the defendant incurs to appear in court. Out-of-state defendants may need to travel significant distances to and from Florida for court dates, disrupting their lives and raising out-of-pocket costs. A reputable attorney can argue your case and ask the judge to reduce the number of court appearances.
- Jail time. A DUI conviction carries a sentence of up to six months in jail, six months of probation, or a combination of both. Your Florida attorney may be able to convince the court to forgo jail time in favor of a pretrial diversion program or allow probation and community service to be completed in your home state.
- Enhanced sentences. If Florida law enforcement discovers a previous DUI or other offense on your home driving record, you could face increased penalties as a repeat offender. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney might be able to get the charges against you dismissed or have you plead down to a less severe offense.
- Lost driving privileges. A DUI commonly results in a driver’s license suspension for six months to a year and mandatory substance abuse treatment program participation. Your lawyer might be able to argue that you need a hardship license so that you don’t fall behind in your studies.
Call a Fort Lauderdale Defense DUI Attorney Before You Leave the State!
With all that’s at stake, you cannot afford to leave Florida without resolving your DUI charge. Board-certified criminal trial attorney Robert David Malove offers free consultations and affordable payment plans to clients accused of DUI. You risk nothing by contacting us to review the charges against you. Contact us online or call us today at 954-861-0384 for a free assessment of your case.