My husband had a court date in Florida and could not go due to the fact that he had another court date in Puerto Rico.

Asked over 1 year ago - Orlando, FL

My husband got sent to jail while we were on vacation in Florida. (he opened a beer can at a car wash which is illegal in the states, but not where we are from and he didnt know). I paid his fine but apparently he had to go to court a few weeks later (after we were supposed to leave). He had to miss that court date beacause before that he already had another problem with the law and it was to be settled on a date before that in Puerto Rico and he had to serve a few months of jail as well. The case in Puerto Rico was a stronger one so it was a priority but I am not sure what happens now with the florida case after he serves the time he has been given.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Robert David Devin

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    Answered . You should contact a lawyer in your area to address this. No one can be in two places at once. If you can show proof to the Florida court that your husband was at another hearing on the same day in Puerto Rico, or was in Jail, then the court should accept that as a valid excuse for failing to appear in Florida. Get any court hearing papers or sentencing papers that will show on the date he was unavailable. There is probably a warrant out for his arrest in Florida for failure to appear in Court. You should deal with this problem right away so it does not get worse. I suggest calling a criminal lawyer in the county where the arrest took place.

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  2. Mark H Randall

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    Answered . Usually the judges are understanding about these situations. However, you need to hire an attorney for him. Otherwise he will be arrested at the airport upon his return from Puerto Rico and be greatly inconvenienced. There probably is a warrant for him outstanding.

  3. Brian D Sizer

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    Answered . The judge in Florida may have issued a bench warrant for his arrest for failure to appear (FTA). I would suggest immediately hiring a good defense attorney on his behalf. Due to the circumstances, the judge will likely recall the bench warrant once the attorney presents him/her with the facts concerning your husband's FTA.

  4. James W Chandler

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    Answered . You should contact a criminal defense attorney in he punts he was arrested immediately. Should have done that to begin with, they could have went to court for him.

  5. Michael Adam Haber

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    Answered . As usual, my colleagues are spot on. If what you have represented is accurate, then there should be a relatively simple fix to your husband's situation.

    First, when you are scheduled for a mandtory court appearance in the State of Florida and fail to appear it is almost a certainty that the the Judge will have issued a warrant. You should be able to check this status yourself by logging on to the appropriate jurisdiction's website (for example, if it was in Orlando then go to http://www.ninthcircuit.org/ and follow the prompts to look up your husband's case, but please note that I practice primarily in Miami-Dade County, which 100% provides warrant information online, but I am unsure as to whether or not the 9th Circuit does the same, but, if not, you can always call them and ask a Clerk over the phone).

    If there is a warrant (or even if there is not and the case is just sitting open) then you will want to retain a local lawyer to coordinate placing the matter on calendar to seek to set-aside the warrant and to then deal wth the substantive case. So long as you have a valid and provable explanation it is almost certain (although not guaranteed) that the Judge will set-aside the warrant (thus alleviating the threat of incarceration and allowing your husband the luxury of continuing on wth your life together). The bigger problem for your husband is going to be traveling to Court without being picked-up on the warrant.

    Warrants come in all shapes and sizes (some have provisions for bond, others do not) and, again, you will want to consult with a local attorney who can advise you as to whether or not it is possible to either satisfy the warrant before your husband travels to Florida (by first posting a bond, if possible) or whether he will have to simply take his chances in traveling. (Judges, and prosecutors, do not generally set-aside warrants for failure to appear until and unless the Defendant is physically in the courtroom looking the Judge in the eyes.)

    I suspect that, given your stated nature of his failure to appear, even the tougher Judges would consider either issuing a bond or temporarily setting-aside the warrant so as to afford your husband an opportunity to voluntarily appear in court and resolve his matter. Either way, a competent lawyer (of which there are many) should be able to quickly dissect this matter and provide you with clear and concise advise. I would not advise doing this over the internet (as you will need to provide counsel with personal and identifying information and as, traditionally anyhow, consultations require a more personal interaction than mere font on a computer screen).

    Best of luck!

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