People from across the country come to North Carolina, whether they are college students, corporate executives or families on vacation.
Unfortunately, some of these people wind up accused of committing a crime. If you are in this situation, you might be tempted to make one of the following mistakes that tourists accused of a crime often make.
Mistake #1: Assuming you can run from the charges
If you leave the state after being arrested, you could wind up in serious trouble if you miss a court hearing or if criminal charges are ultimately filed against you. Under these circumstances, a warrant can be issued for your arrest. Police in another state can enforce that warrant and you could face extradition.
Even minor charges should be resolved properly. However, in these situations, you may be able to avoid having to appear in person for court proceedings by hiring a local attorney who can appear on your behalf.
Mistake #2: Believing you will get leniency because you are from somewhere else
Many laws differ from state to state. For instance, possession of marijuana may be legal in one state and a misdemeanor or felony in a state like North Carolina.
However, generally speaking, ignorance of the law is not going to be a solid defense. And just because you may be from a different state does not mean that a court will take it easy on you.
Mistake #3: Thinking the penalties of an offense won't follow you across state lines
If you have a criminal record in one state, it can still have an impact on your life in another state. For instance, any type of criminal history can show up in a background check for employment. And having a conviction for a property crime or drug offense, for example, can make penalties for future offense more severe, even if they occur in different states.
Mistake #4: Not having local legal guidance
No matter how many times you visit a state, you are likely not as familiar with local laws and the legal landscape as an attorney who practices law in that specific state. As such, it can be a costly mistake to try to handle an out-of-state legal matter on your own and/or without the help of an in-state attorney.