As college students and retirees alike flee the cold weather in the north, St. Petersburg and Clearwater is a popular destination that provides sun, beaches, and Major League Baseball Spring Training. One need only drive on the roads of Pinellas during rush hour this time of year to realize that the congestion and traffic is at its highest point of the year. With so many additional transplants visiting Pinellas County, it is expected that the number of arrests will also increase.
Common Arrests During Spring Break
A week with no classes, homework, and a lack of supervision often translates into increased, and, at times, excessive alcohol consumption. Of course, when alcohol is consumed, inhibitions are lowered, and often times, poor decisions are made. During this time of year, we see a spike in arrests for the following offenses:
- Driving Under the Influence;
- Possession of Alcohol by a Minor;
- Disorderly Conduct / Disorderly Intoxication;
- Sale of Alcohol to a Minor; and
- Possession of Marijuana / Possession of Paraphernalia / Possession of a Controlled Substance.
A System Designed to Punish Out of Town Offenders
In Pinellas County, the Sheriff has developed the “Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion” Program (APAD) which provides an alternative for persons charged with a minor offense who has a
relatively clean record. In a nutshell, an individual charged with a petty crime is given the option to complete 24 hours of community service in lieu of an arrest. However, this program is only available to those individuals who reside in Pinellas County. As a result, if you are vacationing in Clearwater or St. Petersburg, you are going to be treated differently, and often times, more harshly, than an individual who committed the same indiscretion who resides within the County.
An Experienced Lawyer Can Help!
There is an old saying about Pinellas County that many people “arrive on vacation, and leave on probation.” There are a number of ways that our office may be able to assist you in minimizing the impact that a Pinellas County Arrest will have on your life:
- Early Intervention with the Prosecutor: in some cases, our office is able to present mitigating factors to the State in an effort to convince the government to drop the charges against you.
- Pre-Trial Intervention: in other cases, our office can be successful in securing the dismissal of charges against our client by assisting them in applying for and being accepted into the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program.
- Avoid Coming to Court: In some cases, the best path is to avoid the need to return to Florida by having one of our experienced attorneys negotiate a “plea in absentia” that will allow our client to avoid having to return to Florida to appear in court.
- Withholding of Adjudication: a criminal conviction, even for a minor offense, will likely have a dramatic impact on your life. In some cases, our office is successful in negotiating a “Withholding of Adjudication,” which allows our client to resolve his / her case without being formally convicted.
- Sealing and Expungement of Arrest Record: there is no question that an increased number of employers, landlords, and educational institutions are checking arrest records. The sealing or expungement of your arrest will have the effect or removing the record from the Public Database and provide you with the legal authority, in most situations, to truthfully deny that the arrest had occurred.
Call Us for a Free Consultation Today
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Pinellas County while on vacation, call us for a free consultation today. Often times, “time is of the essence” for us to secure the best possible outcome for your case.
Attorneys Marc Pelletier and Timothy Sullivan have a combined twenty-five years practicing criminal law in Pinellas County. If you have already returned home, our office will secure the records relating to your case from the Clerk of the Court and schedule a phone conference with one of our experienced defense lawyers to discuss all of the options that exist in your case. Call us today at 727-578-0303 to schedule a free consultation.
The Law Offices of Russo Pelletier & Sullivan, P.A.
9721 Executive Center Drive North
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
If you were arrested or given a Notice to Appear during Spring Break and have a pending case in Pinellas County, we can help! Call our office to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case.
Visit our dedicated criminal defense or DUI website for more information on your particular charge.