Florida DUI Arrests for Foreigners Can Add to Complications

July 16, 2013

Police say the 22-year-old was driving her mother's sports vehicle with a blood-alcohol content that was more than twice the legal limit when she hit and killed two men in Fort Lauderdale.
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Our Broward County DUI defense lawyers understand the case has been complicated by the fact that the woman, a British citizen, was reportedly overheard telling a co-worker that she planned to flee to Ireland to avoid prosecution. The state attorney's office took note of the fact that she had re-applied for a passport with the British consulate, with her application paid for with her debit card following the crash.

Relayed to the judge, this "potential flight risk" information prompted a bond hearing that resulted in having the bond amount increased to nearly half a million dollars.

However, those representing the woman say the co-worker - and the prosecutors - got it all wrong. While not denying the severity of the incident, her attorneys say she had intended to travel abroad for vacation. She had not realized that, in the American justice system, one can not leave the country while criminal charges are pending. He said it wasn't clear to the woman - or her family - that she was not free to go.

We see this kind of thing a lot in cases where a foreign individual may be facing serious criminal charges. It stems not so much from a desire to avoid facing the justice system as a lack of understanding about it. Anyone who is arrested in Florida on a felony criminal charge - regardless of nationality or citizenship - has the right to attorney. Those who can't afford one will have one appointed, though it's usually better to seek out your own. That way, you can find one with a good reputation who is highly experienced in the area of law involved in your case. Your attorney will then be able to inform you of all your rights and responsibilities under the law - including reiterating any travel restrictions.

Police in Fort Lauderdale say in this case, the driver for some reason lost control of her vehicle and drove into some bushes along West Broward Boulevard on June 13 around 2:15 in the morning. Two men in their 30s were struck and killed, while a third pedestrian was reportedly able to dodge out of the way and avoid being hit.

Two passengers were in the vehicle at the time, but no one else was injured. One witness alleged that the driver attempted to flee the scene, but was unable to do so because one of the individuals was lodged underneath the vehicle, rendering it immobile.

The defendant's defense attorneys took care to underscore the fact that she was working and attending school in Fort Lauderdale and had strong ties to the community, with her mother owning a chain of weight loss clinics in the area.

Still, the judge ordered that she be equipped with an ankle monitor and is forbidden from obtaining a passport.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Florida, contact Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer Carlos Canet today. Call toll-free at 1-866-727-5384. In Broward, (954) 463-1919. In West Palm, (561) 832-4542. In Miami-Dade, (305) 547-6568.

Additional Resources:
Citing flight risk, judge sets bond for Porsche driver charged with 2 DUI manslaughter deaths, July 4, 2013, By Erika Pesantes, Sun-Sentinel

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Fake Drug Checkpoints Likely to Spread in Popularity, July 1, 2013, Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense Lawyer Blog