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What Is Extradition?

September 7, 2019

There are several steps involved in the extradition process

What Is Extradition?

If you are a fan of tv shows that involve the criminal justice process or the “true crime” genre, you have likely heard the term “extradition.” For example, you may have heard of a suspect in a murder case searching for countries that don’t have an extradition treaty with the United States. But what exactly is extradition? And how does it apply in more mundane cases across state lines?

According to a criminal defense lawyer Orange County, CA, extradition is the process of arresting and returning a person from one state to another (or from one country to another). The person who has been arrested is known as a fugitive. The arrest is based on one of the following situations:

  • A criminal offense in the other state;
  • An escape after a conviction in the other state;
  • A violation of the terms of bail, probation or parole in the other state; OR
  • An action in California that led to a criminal charge in the other state.

For purposes of this post, we will focus on individuals who have been arrested in California for potential extradition to other states. These states are known as the demanding states, while California is called the asylum state.

An extradition occurs after the demanding state makes a request (demand) to the asylum state (California), asking that they arrest the fugitive. California will then issue a Governor’s warrant, or a magistrate’s warrant based on a verified complaint or affidavit. Importantly, a warrant is not necessary if the case involves a felony. Once the fugitive has been arrested, he or she is entitled to an extradition hearing to establish probable cause to establish that he or she is the person named in the warrant and whether he or she is charged with or convicted of a crime in the demanding state. This hearing must be held within 10 days.

A fugitive can waive an extradition hearing and simply agree to return to the demanding state. This may be a good option if he or she believes that resisting extradition will be a waste of time or money, or if they want to go back to have their day in court. Alternatively, an individual who has been arrested as a fugitive can fight extradition. An experienced criminal defense lawyer Orange County, CA can work with you to help defend against extradition — such as by arguing that the state arrested the wrong person, or that the demanding state filed the paperwork incorrectly. Fighting extradition charges may allow your attorney to negotiate terms with the prosecutor from the demanding state, which may be helpful if you eventually return to face the criminal charges.

Extradition can be demanded for any type of criminal charge, both felonies and misdemeanors. As a practical matter, states are unlikely to pursue extradition for a misdemeanor charge. However, if you have a pending criminal matter in another state and are concerned about the possibility of extradition, you should consult with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer Orange County, CA to determine your options.

The Chambers Law Firm has substantial experience in representing clients throughout Southern California who have been charged with a range of crimes. Contact our firm today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com to schedule a free initial consultation.

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