Extradition is a legal process that sends a person in custody from one legal jurisdiction to another. If you are wanted in connection with a crime that occurred in a different state or country, you can be returned to the custody of the jurisdiction where the crime occurred through extradition.  Extradition is not required when both jurisdictions are in the same state.

Usually, extradition arises after a person wanted in one state is taken into custody in a different state. If a jurisdiction has charged a person with a serious crime but that person has fled the state, it can request extradition from another state, even if the accused/convicted person isn’t in custody.

If a wanted person is taken into custody for any reason, the responding jurisdiction (also knows as the asylum jurisdiction) will notify the demanding jurisdiction that they have arrested the wanted person. The demanding jurisdiction will make a decision about whether the crime is serious enough to justify spending the considerable time, money and effort it will take to have the person returned to them.

Generally, extradition is reserved for persons wanted for serious felonies, prison escapees, and persons who have absconded from parole or probation, or who have jumped bail.  Most states follow the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act. (Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina do not.)  Extradition is a Constitutional matter, so Federal law can also be used to regulate the extradition process.

Initially, the demanding jurisdiction must demonstrate to the asylum jurisdiction that the wanted person has been charged with a crime.  If the extradition request is accepted by the asylum jurisdiction, the demanding jurisdiction has approximately 30 days to collect the fugitive and transport him/her back to the demanding jurisdiction. If the demanding jurisdiction does not collect the fugitive within the approximate 30 day period, the responding jurisdiction can release the fugitive. Likewise, the fugitive can be released if the demanding jurisdiction withdraws the extradition request.

California law offers some protections to persons who are the subject of an extradition request.  Whether you are being returned to California or sent from California to another jurisdiction, the Court will hold an identity hearing, during which the requesting jurisdiction must prove to the Judge that you are, in fact, the person being sought. The Judge will also determine that the demanding jurisdiction has correctly filed a proper request for extradition.

When the State of California receives a valid extradition request, the Governor’s office will sign a special warrant authorizing the person’s arrest at any time or place within the State of California (assuming they are not already under arrest), and authorizing their delivery to an agent of the demanding jurisdiction.

If you are the subject of an extradition request, either to or from the State of California, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.  An experienced attorney can make sure your rights are protected, and ensure that the extradition request has been properly made. Additionally, a competent defense attorney may be able to defeat the extradition request, or help you address outstanding criminal matters against you without the need to leave the state.

If you are facing extradition to or from the State of California, you need the assistance of a competent criminal defense attorney.  Please contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Helfend toll-free at (800) 834-6434 or locally at (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for a consultation. Robert M. Helfend is an experienced Los Angeles County criminal defense attorney who can help!


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