Arrested on Vacation? Here’s What You Need To Know

Posted on Jul 12, 2018 in Courts, Criminal Defense, NOPD

New Orleans is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. People come from all over to join in the culture and revelry offered by the Crescent City. Sometimes, though, partying goes wrong, and vacationers can find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

What should you do if you’re arrested or charged while on vacation? What if you are arrested or charged in another state?

Having charges brought against you in a state you don’t live in can be a stressful situation that’s difficult to deal with. In most cases, individuals charged with a crime will be required to appear in court in the state where they have been charged.

This is not only an inconvenience, but it can be expensive as well. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Ideally, you should contact an attorney licensed and based in the state where you were charged. You may not always know the particulars or nuances of the law in a state you are visiting, but a good local attorney should be an expert.

Individual laws can vary from state to state. For instance, in New Orleans, there’s no open container law. Meaning, individuals over the legal age can drink in public without reprimand. Most tourists know this—it might even be part of the reason they want to visit. But what many might not know is that it is illegal to drink from any container other than a plastic cup in public. Likewise, tourists enjoying themselves in New Orleans might not expect to run into trouble for public intoxication, but it’s one of the more common charges handed out in the city.

An experienced, local attorney can help you navigate local laws and policy that you might not know about. They can answer any questions you might have, provide you with info and experience.

In many states, an attorney can act as a representative for you in court. They can appear and act on your behalf, without you having to be there, saving you time and money. Louisiana allows attorneys to represent defendants in court. This is another reason hiring a local attorney is so important and beneficial.

Can I Travel With Pending Charges?

What happens if you need to travel but you have pending charges? Many people travel for work. Or what about Cousin Billy’s destination wedding next month? You already bought that $150 food processor!

Again, unfortunately, when it comes to traveling on pending charges, there’s not a clean answer. Some individuals may be restricted from traveling while their charges are pending, and  others won’t be. It depends on the charges being brought against you and the particular local laws.

For the most part, if you are charged with a misdemeanor you probably won’t be restricted from traveling. Nevertheless, you should check with the court and your lawyer before traveling. With these types of issues, it really depends who you are. Things like whether or not you have a criminal record, where you’re from, and your reason for being in the city where you’ve been charged—among other things—can all be contributing factors.

Felony charges for more serious crimes usually require the individual to stay within the vicinity of the place where the case is pending while it is pending. This could mean staying within the state, or even within the parish or county.

However, again, the restrictions in each case will vary by person. For example, if you’ve been convicted of a nonviolent crime, you may be allowed to leave while the case is pending. If you have no connection to New Orleans, the court may also allow you to travel outside the jurisdiction.

There are also different rules dictating international travel and travel within the US. You may be able to travel locally, but not internationally.

Above all—if you have been charged with a felony crime you should never leave the jurisdiction without first seeking permission from the court and advice from your attorney. To be honest, this is good practice for misdemeanors as well.

An experienced attorney can review the particulars of your case for you, and inform you as to any travel restrictions you might be under. This is the best way to ensure you aren’t violating the terms of your charge and causing more unwanted trouble for yourself.

What If There Is a Warrant Out For Me In Another State?

Almost every state has a law of extradition (Missouri and South Carolina are the only exceptions). Under this process, individuals accused of a crime in one state can be arrested in another, then extradited to the state where they have been charged.

Extradition does not always occur, and is usually for serious and felony crimes, like murder. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor you will likely not be extradited. However, that doesn’t mean you can simply look the other way and your charge will go away. Even if your warrant is from another state, you can be arrested in any state. Again, this varies on a case-by-case basis. A lawyer can review and inform you of the particulars of your case, and get you moving towards trial, so that you don’t have to keep looking over your shoulder.

Ultimately, as with traveling out of state, the specifics of each case is dependent on a number of factors. For example, whether the charged already has a criminal record, where they are from, and so on.

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

Communication between client and attorney is key in situations such as this. If you have been arrested or charged while visiting New Orleans, contact us today. We at Bloom Legal pride ourselves on open communication, responsiveness, and client satisfaction. We will do the legwork here to make sure you understand all the details of your case. We will represent and fight for you in court, so that you can get back to your life at home as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

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