Miami-Dade and Broward rely heavily on tourist dollars. Restaurants, nightclubs, and bars make lots of money serving drinks to tourists and offering them a good time.
However, when you have a massive influx of tourists who are looking to drink and have some fun, you are bound to run into trouble.
As a criminal defense attorney, I can't tell you the amount of calls I get from out-of-town visitors who have gotten arrested during their stays in Miami-Dade or Broward.
Now I mentioned alcohol earlier because many tourist arrests are alcohol-related. DUI and disorderly intoxication are two very common tourist offenses. Disorderly intoxication is sort of a "catch all" for police who just want to help their cities or counties make a little more money by arresting tourists for being too loud in public. For many misdemeanor offenses, a tourist may be issued a PTA (promise to appear), which is not a physical arrest but is a technical arrest.
Tourists are also commonly arrested for battery, as aggression and alcohol tend to lead to fights.
I have also seen tourists arrested for a wide array of felony offenses as well.
It seems that while South Florida loves it tourists, our police love to target them.
If you are a tourist and you are arrested, it is wise to hire a lawyer so that you do not have to continually come back to Florida every time you need to go to court.
If you are arrested for a misdemeanor, you may retain a criminal lawyer in Miami-Dade or Broward to represent you at all stages of the judicial process. Florida criminal procedure allows misdemeanor defendants to waive their presence in writing, allowing their attorneys to represent them at all stages, even to the point of accepting a negotiated plea agreement on their behalf.
If you are arrested for an offense that qualifies you for Pre-Trial Diversion (PTD), a written waiver and power of attorney may allow your criminal lawyer to sign you up for the program.
If arrested for a felony, you can waive your presence up to a certain point but many judges may require you to appear in person on your trial day, or perhaps other settings.
Nobody intends to get arrested when they leave on vacation. But it happens. Be prepared.
If you are arrested, remember that you still have rights even though you may be from out-of-town. Your constitutional rights apply in all 50 states. That means you do not have to consent to a police search, you do not have to speak to police, and you have the right to be represented by a criminal defense attorney.
Don't let the cops bully you just because you are not from Miami-Dade or Broward. The law of the land is based on our federal constitution, despite what the Miami-Dade Police or Broward Sheriff's Office may tell you.
If arrested while on vacation, it is better to retain an attorney sooner than later. That way, you do not risk getting a warrant for failing to appear at your court date.
I represent clients in Miami-Dade or Broward. I have represented many South Florida tourists. If you or a loved one have been arrested while visiting Miami-Dade or Broward, call me.