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Extradition

California

Any person who is charged with or commits a crime in one state and then leaves to another state is a “fugitive from justice” and is subject to Extradition, regardless of the person's intent, reason or motive for leaving. That person does not need to have actual knowledge of the charges. Extradition (Interstate Extradition) refers to the surrender of a wanted fugitive by one state to another.

Extradition comes into play when a suspect is arrested on a “fugitive warrant” issued by the state (the “demanding state”) seeking to extradite him. The prosecutor in the location where the suspect is found ( the “asylum state”) will then file a “fugitive complaint” against the suspect. The suspect will be taken to court several days after being arrested where he will be arraigned. At the arraignment the suspect will be officially informed of the reason for his arrest and asked if he wishes to challenge or waive his Extradition. This is a critical juncture in the Extradition proceedings. If the suspect fights his Extradition, an identity hearing will be calendared in 10 days and the local prosecutor will prepare the necessary extradition papers which are submitted to the Demanding State's Governor. At that time the suspect will post bail or remain in custody in the asylum state pending the identity hearing and the issuance of the Governor's warrant. If the suspect waives his Extradition then he may be allowed to post bail and return to the state that issued the warrant. If bail is not allowed by the court then the suspect will wait for law enforcement agents to pick him up and transport him back to the demanding state where the crime allegedly occurred. The suspect will likely wait two to four weeks before he is picked up.

If you or someone you know is arrested on a fugitive warrant, it is critical to consult with an experienced Extradition lawyer immediately to learn what legal options are available to you. That attorney should also try to convince the judge to reduce the bail or release the person without posting bail (OR/ Own Recognizance) so that the person can quickly return to the demanding state where he was wanted.

For additional information on Extradition see “Understanding California's Extradition Laws.”