You can come back to the Sunshine State of Florida or you can have a lawyer move the Court to Proceed in Absentia, but first you will have to decide how you wish to proceed (i.e. whether you want to plea in absentia, appear for a trial, shoot for diversion, etc)... what is both in your best interests and a probably outcome based upon both the facts and circumstances of you case and the who and what of you as the Defendant.
I can't speak for Tampa but I do this regularly in Miami for folks from all over the country, and occasionally for folks who reside outside of the country. I discuss the facts and circumstances of the case and the client's history and future plans over the phone, come up with a litigation objective, e-mail a contract to the client together with a packet of papers to have notarized and return to me (various motions and affidavits designed to keep you out of court). Then I petition the court to proceed in absentia (in misdemeanor cases 99/100 times its granted) and do my best to accomplish the Client's objective. (With the Court's permission, I can negotiate a plea in absentia, I can agree to terms of diversion in absentia and if the facts support it I can conduct a trial or a motion to suppress or dismiss in your absence.) But again, that's me and that's here... I don't know about those Tampons.... (joking - just joking - I lived in Tampa for 3 years and, well, once a Tampon always a Tampon).
Find yourself a few criminal defense lawyers in Tampa (I'm sure at least one or two will chime in on Avvo, which you can search if you like, or you can also search the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers website by locality - please see http://www.facdl.org/ - and click on the "Find A Lawyer" tab).
Make a few calls, feel out who makes you most comfortable in their knowledge and advise and then let her/him run with the ball.
Either way best of luck!
Mr. Haber is just jealous because he regrets moving to Miami. (jk) You do not need to come back to court if you hire a lawyer to try and resolve your case without you having to show up. A lawyer in Tampa will be best to handle this case for you. It sounds as if this was an ordinance violation which is quasi-criminal. There are some defenses and in some cases if they do not save the evidence of alcohol, a lawyer may be able to help you get charge dropped. You usually will face a fine and costs if the charge is not dropped. I hope you will avoid a conviction on this charge because it could impact sealing or expunging this charge or any other charge.
Please be advised that answering your questions does not establish an attorney-client relationship with myself or my firm. 407-588-6714 firstname.lastname@example.org
I agree with Attorney Haber and Attorney Umansky. You should be able to do this in absentia. I have done in the Tampa courts before and as far as I know you still can. If you would like to discuss your case further, contact me at 813-681-8383 for a free telephone consultation.
B. Elaine Jones, Esq.
Let me know if you need a hand buddy. My office is in Ybor probably right around where you got the citation. Can you read the cop's name from the citation? I probably know the guy.