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Criminal charges are scary, and convictions are even worse. Being subjected to the criminal justice system is not something anyone really wants to do. However, ignoring the criminal justice system is the surest way to end up on the wrong side of it.
Frequently, when a person gets arrested while on vacation in another state, then gets released, or bails out, they'll go home and never bother to return. Unfortunately, doing so not only ensures you'll face additional penalties, but also can severely compound the amount of life disruption you face.
Below you'll find three tips on how to handle out of state misdemeanor charges.
You can go home, usually, once you are released from custody. However, it is absolutely your responsibility to make sure you show up when the court says so. If you live in a nearby state, this may be simpler, but you need to consider travel plans carefully. While it may be costly to show up to court in a different state, it may be necessary to avoid further penalties. Also, if a judge says not to leave the state, don't leave the state without court permission.
Usually, if you hire a lawyer, you may be able to avoid ever having to return to the state where you allegedly committed your crime. The first thing you should do is retain an attorney that works in the jurisdiction where the charges are being brought. Many courts will allow an attorney to appear on behalf of a criminal defendant for nearly all, if not all, proceedings. This will help to ensure you don't get hit with a failure to appear, and can also serve to get you the best possible negotiated outcome.
Frequently, for sentences that only include probation, you can petition to have your punishment served in your home state. This may not be available for all crimes and in all states, but generally is worth looking into as it can drastically simplify and reduce the costs of a conviction.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.