Orlando Tourist Defense Attorney
Criminal Defense Attorney For Tourists/Visitors To Orlando’s Attractions
Orlando and Central Florida have visitors from other parts of the US and the world year round. The numbers were in the neighborhood of 75 million people in 2018, making it one of the most visited locations in the world. With people visiting for both fun and business, or both, comes the occasional run in with Central Florida’s criminal justice system. Tourist offenses typically include DUI’s (Driving Under the Influence), or other criminal driving offenses (leaving the scene of an accident, vehicular homicide or felony DUIs), batteries (from fights that may occur in bars or hotels), domestic violence between spouses or boyfriend/girlfriend.
I Have Been Arrested And I Am From Out Of Town – What Do I Do?
If you find yourself having been arrested locally, there are some things you can do to help yourself and to know in general.
- Initial Appearance: First, under Florida law you are entitled to see a judge within 24 hours of your arrest for an Initial Appearance. At the Initial Appearance you will be told what you were arrested for and whether or not you have a bond (a bond is a monetary amount set for your case, which you would have to pay to get released – more on that below), which you or a family member can arrange to pay to get out of jail. IF YOU DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH be sure that you let someone know so that an interpreter can be provided, which is done here in Florida. If you don’t say anything it is possible they will not know you don’t speak English and you will be confused and lost, which may result in you staying in jail longer than necessary. The important thing to know about this hearing is that it gives the Judge a chance to review the police report associated with your charge and if it is not complete or sufficient the Judge can just order that you be released. Many of the cases that end up with the accused being in front of the Initial Appearance judge are more serious felonies or domestic violence charges. Domestic violence charges require that the accused stay in jail until he or she see the Initial Appearance judge before they are released. So remember, if it feels like you are just sitting in jail and nothing is happening and no one is telling you what happens next, eventually you will be entitled to see a judge. It is extremely important at the Initial Appearance, even if you feel like you have done nothing wrong and want to tell anyone who will listen, that you DO NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE CHARGE TO THE JUDGE AS ANYTHING YOU SAY WOULD BE ON THE RECORD (everything said in court is recorded) AND CAN BE USED AGAINST YOU!! You can of course answer basic questions asked by the judge (what your name is, do you live here locally and if not where are you staying locally, etc.), but don’t get into the facts of your case.
- Bail/Bond: Most of the time, for all minor offenses (except domestic violence batteries) you will have a bond associated with your charge. A bond is an amount of money that can be paid in full by the person being held (or by their friends/family), or can be paid through a bondsman or bonding company; once it is paid either way the person is released and is either given a return court date or is later sent one. If you pay it in full, it is paid at the Booking/Release center or jail in the form of a money order; as long as you show up for all your required court dates you get that money back in full. If you use a bondsman, you pay the bondsman ten percent of the bond amount, which they keep as a fee, and put up some sort of collateral for the rest. Again, if you show up for all your required court appearances you will not lose that collateral. If you don’t show up for court the bond can be taken by the court/clerk’s office, and a warrant would be issued for your arrest.
- CALL THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID HILL: If you get arrested, contact someone in your party that is in town with you and have them call our offices (407-648-0006). I have a 24 hour answering service and once contacted can put you or your party in touch with a bondsman or can give instructions on how to post the bond. If you are going to have to go to the Initial Appearance, David Hill will appear there with you and do the talking to the judge to assure that you get released from jail.
Do I Have To Return To Orlando/Central Florida Once I Have Been Released From Jail?
This is the most common concern (after of course the possible outcome of the charges) that tourists and visitors charged with crimes locally have. They may live hundreds or thousands of miles away and worry about having to return to Florida for all their court appearances. If you retain attorney David Hill’s services, he will waive your appearance at every possible hearing, and will take all steps possible to avoid you having to return to Florida for court at all. Sometimes it is not possible to completely avoid a return trip, but David Hill does everything he can to avoid you having to come back, including taking care of the charges through what is called a “written plea” that can be done through the mail. The important thing in the short term is to get the person out of jail so they can catch their flight home, then defense attorney David Hill can take over the case and fight for the best result without the person having to wait around Central Florida or without them having to come back for multiple trips.
I Don’t Speak English – Can You Still Help Me?
Obviously this is a common issue, and the answer is yes, our tourist defense attorney in Orlando can help. His assistant Maribel Delgado is fluent in Spanish (of Columbian descent) and can serve as an interpreter for any conversations between the accused or his/her family and Mr. Hill. If it is another language, Mr. Hill uses the services of numerous interpreting/translation services and make arrangements for those interactions.
It may be appropriate to contact (or even before coming to Florida to get this information) the consulate’s office from your country. In more serious cases it doesn’t hurt to have the local representative from your aware of what is going on in case they need to get involved to assist attorney David Hill in getting you released and back to your home country. Some business travelers are concerned about whether getting arrested here can affect their visa to return to the United States – it can and depends on the charges and their seriousness.
Contact Orlando Tourist Crime Defense Attorney David Hill
The Law Offices of David Hill have helped visitors and tourists from all over the world (England, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Australia, Mexico to name a few) and from states all over the US. Attorney David Hill, from his 29 years of practice, knows how scary and overwhelming it can be to be a stranger to the criminal justice system, but especially when it is not in your state or country, and even more so if English is not your first language. Call us at the beginning of the case, whether you are the arrested person calling from jail or are a family member or friend trying to get the arrested person help. We can take the steps to get the person out of jail, and can help the accused or their friends and family to navigate the various steps needed to get the person out of jail and their case handled.