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Interstate Agreement on Detainers Applies in Florida

The laws regarding when the state has to take a person to trial and statutes of limitation can be very complicated depending on the charge, when the crime was committed, where the defendant was residing and other factors. There is a law that applies in Florida that addresses a situation where a defendant has a pending case in Florida but is currently in jail in another state. In these cases, the defendant can petition the Florida court to have his/her trial, or otherwise have his/her case resolved, here in Florida, and the Florida case could be dismissed if the state does not act accordingly.

The Interstate Agreement on Detainers provides that when a person has been sentenced to incarceration in another state and has a pending case in Florida (or any other state where this law applies), and Florida has a detainer on the defendant in that other state, the defendant can force a trial or resolution in Florida within 180 days. The defendant has to send a letter to the court and the prosecutor’s office in the county in Florida where the case is pending which tells them where he is incarcerated and makes a written request to have his Florida case disposed of. The letter must also be certified by an official where he is currently incacerated indicating certain facts about his sentence and the time he has served.

if the defendant follows those rules and the prosecutor in Florida does not resolve his case either through a trial or a plea (or get a continuance from the judge) within 180 days, the judge should dismiss the Florida charges. These days, with state attorneys offices having serious budget issues, they may not be inclined to bring a defendant to Florida for certain types of cases. Other prosecutors may not be aware of this law and might let a letter like this fall through the cracks. For someone who is in prison in another state and has a pending case in Florida, it might make a lot of sense to have a crinminal defense lawyer utilize the Interstate Agreement on Detainers for the Florida case and get the Florida charges dropped or at least force a favorable resolution in the Florida case.