What happens if you have been charged with or convicted of a crime in another state and there is a warrant for your arrest, but you are now in Minnesota? Can the other state come and get you?
What is Extradition?
Extradition is the process that allows authorities from one state (say Florida, which we call the demanding state), to go into a different state (say Minnesota, which we call the asylum state), to arrest somebody and return them to the demanding state (Florida). But how does it work?
To start with, the process of extradition is governed both by the United Stated Constitution and the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA). The UCEA has been adopted by Minnesota and most other states and sets forth the process of extraditing somebody from state to state.
How Does Extradition Work?
Extradition can get complicated, but the general process is as follows:
- The demanding state issues an out-of-state warrant.
- This can only be for a felony offense.
- There may also be geographical limitations on the warrant, such as indicating extradition is only from neighboring states.
- When somebody is arrested in another state and that state becomes aware of the warrant, they notify the demanding state that they are in possession of a person they are looking for.
- The demanding state can then request the return of the person or indicate that they will not extradite the person.
Assuming the demanding state will extradite the person, the person being held on the out-of-state warrant has 2 options: they can either waive extradition or fight the extradition.
If the prisoner waives extradition:
- They are agreeing to voluntarily be returned to the demanding state.
- The asylum state will hold them until the demanding state picks them up.
- There is no timeline for how quickly the demanding state must get the prisoner to bring them back, but many jails may put pressure on the demanding state to get the prisoner out of their jail so they don’t have to keep providing room and board and take up a bed.
- Many states will utilize a third-party prisoner transport company to transport the prisoner back to the demanding state. If that’s the case, the transport bus will zigzag across the country picking up prisoners and dropping them off until they finally get back to the demanding state. A demanding state could also send their own officers to retrieve the prisoner, but this can be much more expensive.
If the arrested person does not waive extradition, they can demand a Governor’s Rendition Warrant. This sets in motion the process for obtaining the Governor’s Warrant:
- The first thing that typically happens is a hearing is held where the judge may allow the person to post bail, or the judge can order that the person be held without bail.
- The demanding state and the asylum state must then both obtain Governor’s Rendition Warrants for the return of the person to the demanding state.
- The warrant is required to be obtained within 30 days; however, the judge can extend this for another 60 days. If the Governor’s Rendition Warrant is not obtained within the total of 90 days, the prisoner must be released.
- If Governor’s Rendition Warrant is obtained, officials from the demanding state will transport the person to the demanding state—either with their own officers or utilizing a third-party transport company.
Can You Fight An Extradition?
There are a few limited defenses to extradition. These include:
- The prisoner is not the person noted in the warrant;
- The prisoner was not in the demanding state at the time of the crime;
- The offense is one for which extradition is not allowed (i.e. a misdemeanor);
- The extradition paperwork or charging documents are not in proper order.
If you are facing extradition or worried about the possibility of being extradited, contact one of our attorneys today.