What is Extradition?
Extradition is the legal process by which one state turns over a wanted criminal to
another state. The reasons for which a person may be extradited include:
- commission of a crime,
- escape from imprisonment, or
- probation, parole, or bail violation.
There are two types of California extradition cases: extradition into California
and extradition out of California. If you have been arrested in Los Angeles
for a crime you committed in another state, you could be extradited back
to that state. Likewise, if you have been arrested outside of California
for a crime you committed in Los Angeles, you may be extradited back to
Los Angeles. California Penal Code sections 1548-1558 regulate both types
How California Extradition Works
The extradition process begins when a person (let's say John) is stopped
by the police. A check of John's license turns up an out-of-state
warrant (also known as a
fugitive warrant) from another state (Texas). John is arrested and taken to jail where
he will sit for several days without the ability to post bail. During
this time, Texas is notified about John's arrest and is asked if they
are coming to pick up John. If Texas says no, John will be released. If
Texas says yes, they must hold him.
The Texas prosecutor will file a fugitive complaint against John. John
is then sent to court to see the judge, hear the charges and enter a plea.
John can deny the allegations in the complaint or waive formal extradition.
If John waives formal extradition, he gives up his right to a formal hearing
and will wait for the Texas Marshals to pick him up and return him to
Texas. If John has an attorney, the attorney can request that John be
allowed to post an extradition bond to guarantee his return to Texas to
face his criminal proceedings. If John denies the allegation, he must
return to court within 10 calendar days for an Identity Hearing wherein
competent evidence must be presented confirming that John is actually
the fugitive listed in the warrant. Failure to produce this evidence at
the hearing will result in John's release.
If the court finds probable cause to believe that John is the same person
named in the fugitive complaint, he will be returned to the county jail
for 30 to 60 days to await the formal issuance of the Governor's warrant.
During this time, the Texas prosecutor assembles all the required case
documents and submits them to the Governor's office. The Texas Governor
then files a formal demand to California's Governor. If Los Angeles
is satisfied the request is valid, Los Angeles will hold John in order
to surrender him to Texas authorities. Once the Governor's warrant
is issued then it is just a matter of time before John will be picked
up and returned to Texas. If Texas does not pick John up within a reasonable
time period, he will be released.
How We Can Assist You When Facing Extradition
There are a number of ways we can assist you during the extradition process.
Here are just some examples:
- We can challenge the identity procedures and documents that are provided
by the other state that purport to identify the suspect;
- We can challenge the validity and completeness of the extradition documents
provided to the local court in terms of mistakes, errors, defects and
- We can obtain the release of the person awaiting extradition by posting
bail here in Los Angeles or in the other state;
We can negotiate a
reduction of the bail;
- We can attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor in the other state for
an immediate release of the suspect on the promise that he will return
to court in the immediate future;
- We may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to withdraw the extradition
warrant upon completion of some outstanding obligation the suspect had
in the other state, such as payment of a fine or outstanding child support.
Experienced Los Angeles Extradition Attorneys
Our criminal defense lawyers are experienced primarily in helping clients
who are being held in Los Angeles county jail awaiting extradition to
another state. We have successfully negotiated the release from custody
of many of our clients awaiting extradition. With more than 50 years of combined
criminal defense experience, we will evaluate your situation and provide you with practical
legal options to your extradition dilemma.
Contact a Los Angeles extradition lawyer at our firm for a consultation.