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Criminal charge in Virginia? What if you live in another state?

It is likely that when you are visiting a state that you are not a resident of, it is for a reason such as a vacation, to have fun or to be with friends or family. All these occasions can be severely disrupted if you are charged with a crime. An already unpleasant experience can also become confusing and stressful since you are only visiting the area and may soon be leaving for good. If you are facing criminal charges but live in another state besides Virginia, here are a few things you should know.

Jurisdiction

The state where you are accused of committing the crime will have the jurisdiction to prosecute the offense. For example, if you are visiting Virginia to enjoy one of the races at Martinsville Speedway and are pulled over for DUI or for some other infraction at or near the track, you will need to defend the charges in Virginia. Even if you are driving back home after a week of visiting, you do not get to take the charges home to deal with them there. This can obviously lead to logistical problems for you as the defendant. Besides mandatory appearances in court to face the charges, you may want to defend yourself against the charges.

Do not ignore the charges 

What you should not do is leave the state and ignore the charges believing that if you do not come back to Virginia you have nothing to worry about. States have the right through the U.S. Constitution to request your extradition, which means you will be transported back to the requesting state to face your charges.

Misdemeanor

If the charge you are facing is a misdemeanor, which includes driving under the influence or public intoxication, as the defendant you can hire a local attorney who may be able to appear on your behalf. Since the possibility of returning may be difficult due to distance and work, this is the most beneficial option many people choose. However, you should remember you will need to serve any sentence that is imposed. It is important to stay in close contact with your local attorney to understand the charges and to be updated on your case.

Felonies

For a felony charge, as an out of state resident you will likely need to post bail. Posting bail ensures that you will return to court to face your charges. Once you do return to face the charges, this bail money is returned to you. If you do not return, the bail will be kept by the court and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

If you are faced with a charge while visiting Virginia, you should hire a local attorney who can advocate for you and even challenge any of the charges. While an arrest while visiting another state can be frustrating, it is not something that should be ignored or taken lightly.

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