Need Legal Advice or just tell me what you would do (1 Viewer)

Maki40

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Hello All,

I've been hoboing around Florida all winter with no problems but I just got a citation for Alcohol in the beach in Panama City. I read the beach rules and they said nothing about alcohol but apparently they have a alcohol ban for the month of March which wasn't posted anywhere and I got no warning. I was just laying out not partying or drinking and I had my stuff out of my pack drying out. I had two cans of unopened beer exposed and two cops rolled up on ATVs and cited me. They said I just call the number and at most it would be $25 - $35 fine. All lies.
I'm facing either $280, 28hrs community service, or 28hrs jail time in their misdemeanor diversion program. Plus, id have to stick around here for a couple weeks before they get the paperwork. I have no other criminal history.
So, paying the fine is out the question. Should I jump the hoops and do what I have to to keep my record clean or bounce and not look back. Obviously, I'll get a warrant, but not sure they will ever come get me for that.
Thanks for any input.
 
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Have you spoken to a public defender yet? Simple possession of unopened cans of beer may not violate the law- most of the news coverage seems to focus on drinking on the beach. Even if the ban is on simple posession regardless if you are drinking, if you get a reasonable judge, that may help.

If you bail and get a warrant, i would leave Fla and not come back, ever. Anytime cops run your name the bench warrant will come up, this may also happen in adjoining states that pool their databases. You seem to like it there, so this is a bad idea.

28 hours of jail time really does not seem that bad to me, i understand having to wait around to go to jail for a day kind of sucks. 28 hours community service is 4 days of bullshit, whereas you can sleep through most of 28 hours, and get fed, which you don't doing community service.
 
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Maki40

Maki40

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Thanks for the reply. This happened yesterday so I haven't spoken to a public defender. I'm probably going to take your advice and do the time. I'm not sure if I have to face a judge with the diversion program, but maybe that's an option I should consider. My court date is April 8th.
 

Brodiesel710

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Don't bounce! I would pay it or do the time. This is my experience in these type of things, keep your record clean. I usually just bite the bullet and give the man the $$$. I got a ticket in Portland for j-walking in 2003, blew it off for years and it ended up costing me so much $ down the road.
 

Matt Derrick

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ACAB... man that's some bullshit, especially since the beers were unopened, i don't think you were breaking any law (even if it was some kind of special situation for that month like you mentioned). you might go to court and fight it since that seems like an awful stretch for any judge to hold up. sound like those pigs were just knocking off a few points on their quota.
 

Tude

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wow - looked this one up and found this article - def aimed at spring break. (hell go to myrtle beach). Guess this went into effect in 2018.

1. No possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages on the sandy beach during the month of March.

2. No possession or consumption of alcohol in commercial parking lots.

3. All alcohol sales end at 2 a.m. through the month of March.

4. No open house parties.

etc etc etc

:(

Alcohol ban, other Spring Break laws take effect in Panama City Beach on March 1 - https://www.tampabay.com/article/20180301/article/303019554
 
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Oh well, so much for hoping it's a drinking ban. Unopened cans won't save you.

Definitely talk to the assigned lawyer before accepting a deal, but looks like you are doing 28 hours in jail, doing 4 days of bullshit work, or getting a temp labor job to make $280. That's $10/hr to avoid jail, where you can sleep and eat- do the time is my advice. The jail may even have airconditioning, the community service job will be in the hot sun.
 

iamwhatiam

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Definitely take care of it somehow. 28 hours in jail is nothing. But don't just bounce. I once got a drunk in public/disorderly conduct arrest in Florida and decided to leave the state and not pay the fines. They eventually suspended my driver's license, and it cost me more money in the end to get it reinstated. Fuck Florida
 

CloudyESTL

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Yeah best to get it over with...I just got threw doing 41 months....so really 28 hours or 28 days...I forgot what u said...but it's really nothing...jail sucks but unless ur looking at crazy time...just deal with it...
 
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The only possible reason not to do the 28 hours in jail is if that local jail is one of the ones that serve that "protein loaf" thing instead of actual food (ask around how the food is), but 28 hours fasting won't hurt you a bit if so.

All i know about jail is NYC- when you are waiting to see the judge immediately after arrest (usually this takes at least the 28 hours you are looking at, or longer if you get popped on a Friday night), it is strictly orange drink/baloney sandwich/cheese sandwich (pro tip: give away the baloney sandwich or trade for another cheese one- the baloney makes you shit which is not popular in the communal cells you will be in), but on Riker's the portions are enormous (because they want you in a groggy food coma so you don't want to fight) and the food is at least edible.

Maybe we should have a "Jail Cuisine Reports" section?
 
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Maki40

Maki40

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Thanks everybody... Ill do the time. The worst part is I'm stuck in this shithole for awhile till I take care of it. Theres cops all over the place here, but at least there's hot college girls everywhere.
 

Coywolf

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Dude. Fuck Florida. That is some serious bullshit. Just do the time in jail. Dont even worry about the fine unless they want to give you both. when you area arraigned, the judge might just throw that shit out anyway. Way more shit to worry about on Spring Break other than a stupid possession of a legal substance anyway.
 
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And tell his or her lordship the judge that

1) you meant no harm,
2) were just drying out wet gear, and
3) had no idea that just possessing unopened beers that you
4) had no intention whatever of drinking on the beach

could be offensive to the good townspeople of the wonderful town of [scrolls up to check name of town] Panama City, your honor.

If the beers were warm from being in your pack, mention this (#5 for those counting at home).

Because i went to law school and once passed a bar exam (though not in Florida!), i must state that this post, and my other posts here, are not intended as, or a substitute for, legal advice, and that you, and all other readers, should always seek competent legal advice from a person admitted to the bar(s) of the state(s) involved before doing, or failing to do, anything whatsoever.

Good luck!
 
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benton

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this is not advice, it's what I believe I would do in the situation as described:

I would stand on my rights and demand a jury trial and demand to face my accusers. I would potentially accept some sort of plea bargain if it would ensure that my criminal record remains clean for purposes of a background check.

Innocent until proven guilty is still a thing in some cases as far as I can tell. Make 'em prove it.
 
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Maki40

Maki40

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I just took the misdemeanor diversion so I have to do 28 hrs community service or pay $280 and it's off my record.
 

CloudyESTL

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That's a better outcome than u we're expecting? Honestly it's priddy good...only thing that might suck is if u do the 28 hours community serv. They might have a cap on how many hours a day u can knock off...in Illinois it was like I could only work n knock off 8 hours or so a day...so it might take a few more days...anyway glad u didn't have to spend any time in jail....this shit sucks and I hate the fact I'm a damn expert being to prison 4 times......

Get at me whoever wanted jail recipes...I did a zine on them....look out for number 2.
Ride on.
 

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