The blissful relaxation and fun of vacation can often provide a false sense of immunity to some things, one of them being the law. When out partying the night away with friends in a beach town, the thought of going to jail is probably the last thing on your mind. Have you ever stopped to think about what would happen if you were arrested while in a different state than the one in which you live? Let us be the first to tell you, the arrest itself will be the first in a whole chain of complex and expensive events to come.
The first thing you are very likely going to be required to do is post an expensive bail. Then, once you do return home, you will be required to return to the state in which you were arrested for a court date, often several times. This also becomes a very costly consequence. For a misdemeanor charge, most states will allow a Defendant to hire local counsel and have he or she stand in for the Defendant in court. However, if felony charges have been handed down, the Defendant will be required to appear in person.
The laws of the state in which a person is arrested take precedence over the state in which a Defendant resides. In other words, if you are arrested in North Carolina, but you live in Georgia, you will be prosecuted in accordance with North Carolina law, even if their laws are more strict with harsher sentences.
The bottom line is simply don’t go on vacation thinking you are above the law. Finding yourself being arrested in a different state is an expensive and time consuming process. If you do find yourself in this unfortunate situation, contact a local attorney immediately who can advise you of the laws in the state you are in, and help you understand what to expect.