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Tampa Criminal Defense
Tampa's Aggressive Criminal Defense Firm



In some cases, tourists are arrested for a Tampa DUI during the course of their travel to Tampa, Florida to visit with family, spend time on the beaches and enjoy a vacation. Deputies and Officers throughout Hillsborough County typically refer to this scenario as “Arrive on vacation – Leave on Probation.”

Being in an unknown area and subsequently charged with a Tampa DUI can be an extremely intimidating and terrifying experience. At Finebloom & Haenel, we pride ourselves on being able to ease the defendant’s concerns by effectively explaining Florida DUI law and attending all necessary court appearances to alleviate the defendant’s presence in Court.

License Suspension for Out of State DUI Defendants

  • At the time of your arrest, the arresting officer most likely confiscated your driver’s license. Aside from making it very difficult to pass security at the airport to return to your home state, you are now ineligible to drive as a result of a mandatory suspension of your driving privileges imposed by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). Florida participants in the Non-Resident Violater’s Compact, which requires that Florida provide information to the National Driver’s Registry when any person has been charged with a traffic related offense. As a result of this notification, your home state will soon be advised of your pending DUI charge in Florida and the suspension of your driving privileges.
  • Once we are retained, we will challenge the suspension of your license and acquire for you a temporary driving permit. The temporary driver’s permit is issued by the DHSMV and is to be used on a restricted basis. i.e. for work, church school and medical appointments. Some states may not recognize the temporary driving permit as “valid” – but it is necessary for us to challenge the suspension of your license imposed by the State of Florida to give us any chance of getting your license back.

Court Requirements for Out of State DUI Defendants

  • Even though you live out of state, you must still make a court date within TEN (10) days from your arrest and, if you are not represented by a lawyer, then you must attend all court dates. Luckily, you may never have to return to Tampa for your DUI charge after we are retained because we will attend all necessary court dates in your place absence. Over the course of several months, while your case is pending, we will attend court and speak with the state attorney about your case. We will forward any information we recieve from the state attorney, including the police report and video, to your attention which allows you to be aware of how the state attorney is working to prove the case against you.

Sentencing & Probation for Out of State DUI Defendants

  • On the date the case is going to be resolved, assuming there is no trial, we can present paperwork, called a Plea in Absentia, to the Court on your behalf. A Plea in Absentia (“PIA”) is a document detailing the rights you are giving up by resolving the case and explaining the terms of the resolution. The PIA must be signed by you (the defendant) and notarized by a Notary. It must be returned to our office prior to a pre-discussed court date to allow us to review it before we submit it to the Court.
  • Most likely, when the case is resolved, you will be placed on probation. However, when a defendant lives out of state, probation is referred to as “Mail In Probation.” “Mail In Probation” simply means that you will not be required to visit with a probation officer; all terms of probation will be completed via the mail. The terms of probation differ depending on how the case is resolved.
  • Typically, the sentence imposed by the Court on out-of-staters is lighter than the sentence imposed for visitors. For example, in many cases on a first time offense for DUI, the Court would require the defendant complete 50 hours of community service and immobolize his or her vehicle for a period of 10 days. However, for out-of-staters, our lawyers are sometimes able to negotiate with the state attorney to remove these terms as conditions of probation, to the extent that comunity service can be ‘bought out’ at a rate of $10.00 per hour and the vehicle immobilization be waived.


It is important for non-residents to understand that being charged with DUI in Tampa, Florida is not an easy scenario. There are multiple convulated and confusing scenarios that can arise with the driver’s license portion of the case as well as the criminal case. Over the course of many years and representation of countless out-of-staters, we have become extremely proficient and knowledgable regarding the necessary steps to take to ensure effective representation. Unlike some satellite office lawyers, we are physically located in Tampa, Florida to provide unparalled representation.


Arrested for a Tampa, Florida DUI? Contact our law offices immediately.


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