In today’s episode attorney Chuck Franklin talks about extradition. He clarifies what it means and gives a few tips on what you can do in this situation. Chuck goes over your rights in the matter, as well as what you should do as far as fighting the case!
Today I am going to talk about extradition. Let me tell you what that may mean to you.
Extradition is a legal term that allows one state to remove a criminal defendant in custody in another state. Let me give you an example; You get in trouble in the state of Arizona and you get arrested. You then get released on bond, and you leave the state. Another example, you get arrested, but no charges are filed yet, and then you go to Florida because you decide to leave, for whatever reason.
State of Florida law enforcement ends up pulling you over for speeding or running a stop sign. and the State of Arizona has issued a warrant for your arrest for not showing up to court when you were notified by summons or otherwise. The warrant is for a class six felony, “possession of marijuana” for example. Florida holds you on that warrant because they have ran a nationwide check on your name and date of birth. through the N.C.I.C. (National Crime Information Center) ran by the F.B.I., they then hold you for Arizona to come and pick you up. Even though it is within a criminal matter it is civil, so you are not entitled to an attorney. A Bond may have been set in the State of Arizona which may be posted in Florida and then you can get out and get in a car, then drive back to Arizona. If you do not return, you lose your bond and a warrant is issued again.
My point in telling you this is that:
- It is a civil action.
- If it is an extraditable offense, (all felonies are extraditable as far as Arizona is concerned) you will be held. (They won’t come and get you if it is a class 4 – 6 felony typically, because they don’t want to spend 10,000 dollars out of their budget to come and get you, unless maybe you are a repetitive offender).
A class 6 felony, especially like the example I gave above, possession of marijuana, is not that important. So as a result they will say “you can stay there” or the state of Florida will keep you there for 60 days until the state of Arizona comes and gets you. If they do not come for you,then Florida will cut you loose. However, this can be an on-going issue for the rest of your life if you do not take care of it.
My suggestion is that if you are in a another state or you come to Arizona and you have a warrant from, New Jersey and it’s not the kind of offense the government would spend money to come get you, I would definitely take care of it so you do not keep getting arrested and spend time in jail, only to be released and have to deal with it down the road again.
Now sometimes there will be a notation next to the warrant that will say, the state with the warrant will not extradite because they don’t want to spend the money. Not because it is not an extraditable offense, but because they do not want to spend the money on a person not important enough to warrant spending government money. You will constantly get hassled by the police and you will spend a lot of time in jail waiting for something to happen that never does. However, if you do end up in jail because it is a serious offense, then you should waive the extradition because the only defense to extradition is “that’s not you”. The name that appears in the warrant and the date for birth for “Bob Smith” of January 1, 1959 is not you. You are the other “Bob Smith” same date of birth though.
The defense to an extradition matter is that you are the wrong person identified in the warrant. You can not fight whether or not you are guilty of the crime in the other state. You have to come back to the host state that issued the warrant, like Arizona in this case and fight it here. To keep things moving along, so you are not stuck in some county jail halfway across the country waiting for Arizona to come get you:
- Waive extradition
- Come back to the state that issued the warrant and fight the case in the state
- Have your bond set and posted
- Get yourself a lawyer in the state that issued the warrant and defend you against the charges
You hear about this, and a lot of people think, if they flee to another state they will be fined. However, that is not the case. Also, there are very few countries that won’t extradite back to the united States. For example, if you take off to Mexico they will typically allow extradition back to the United States. Just because you leave the country, does not mean that you will not be coming back here. Another issue is; if you leave the country on a cruise and you go to Jamaica for example and you come back into the US you must go through customs and immigration. If there is a warrant out for you, you can be held at our border (immigration at an airport by example) until you are picked up by the warrant issuing state. You could conceivably be held indefinitely. Whether or not the State of Arizona wants to come get you, is anyone’s bet. It’s on a case by case basis. You want to be sure that you don’t have any warrants when you leave because when you come back you will have to deal with those and it will not be pleasant.
I hope that answers any questions that have been put forward to me over the last few weeks, thank you.
If you or someone you know is currently dealing with this issue of extradition and needs legal representation, do not hesitate to contact attorney Chuck Franklin at (480) 545-0700.