Ryan Peabody | September 16, 2023
An out-of-state warrant is a court order that allows law enforcement authorities to arrest an individual in one state and then extradite them to face criminal charges in the issuing state.
The reasons for the issuance of such warrants vary – it could be due to missed court dates, probation violations, or new criminal charges. Out-of-state warrants can concern any type of crime, ranging from minor misdemeanors like drug possession to serious felonies like sex offenses.
What Exactly is Extradition?
Extradition is the official process where one country, state, or county surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another country, state, or county. The purpose of extradition is to prevent individuals from escaping justice by fleeing across jurisdictional lines or international borders.
Under this procedure, law enforcement authorities in the asylum jurisdiction (where the individual “fled” to) arrest the individual named in the warrant and detain them. This can be followed by possible court hearings before ultimately transferring them back to the demanding/home jurisdiction for prosecution.
Some States May Not Extradite For Less Serious Offenses
The decision to extradite for less serious crimes often depends on a variety of factors, such as the nature and severity of the offense, resources available, and distance between the states involved.
Some states might not find it cost-effective or necessary to pursue extradition for minor misdemeanors or non-violent crimes. However, any warrant should be taken seriously, and legal advice should be sought from an attorney experienced in dealing with out-of-state warrants.
Extradition From California is Not Automatic
California, like all other states, has specific guidelines and procedures in place when dealing with out-of-state warrants and extraditions. The state does not automatically agree to extradition without going through the required legal processes, which are intended to protect individual rights. Extraditions are governed by the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act.
First, an official demand for extradition needs to be made by the demanding jurisdiction. This includes providing key information about the accused (like their identity) plus details of the charge(s) they’re wanted for in that jurisdiction.
Next comes a probable cause/identification hearing. It’s held before a judge who ascertains whether probable cause exists that the person detained is indeed the one named on the warrant.
An Out-of-State Warrant Will Not Go Away Until It is Dealt With
Once an out-of-state warrant is issued, it stays active until it is addressed. It doesn’t go away over time and can be enforced at any point in the future, no matter where you are.
If you come into contact with law enforcement for any reason, even a minor traffic violation, it could result in your arrest if they find outstanding warrants against your name. That’s because this information is in a national database used by police departments across the U.S.
The Importance of Legal Representation If You’re Facing an Out-of-State Warrant
An out-of-state warrant can present complex legal issues, and navigating it requires an understanding of laws in multiple states or jurisdictions. Hiring a criminal defense attorney experienced in such situations is extremely crucial. Here’s how they can help you:
Help to Turn Yourself In
If an out-of-state warrant has been issued for your arrest, it’s generally advisable to turn yourself in rather than waiting and potentially being arrested unexpectedly. An attorney can help facilitate this process smoothly.
Engage in Negotiations
A knowledgeable lawyer can communicate with law enforcement agencies or prosecutors on your behalf. They can negotiate the terms of surrender (such as reducing penalties and charges in exchange for a voluntary surrender).
Representation in Court
An attorney can represent you in court proceedings related to the warrant, ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process, and advocate for a favorable outcome.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney for Help With an Out-of-State Warrant
If an out-of-state warrant has been issued for your arrest, regardless of the charge, it’s crucial to take the matter seriously. Ignoring it will not make it go away. This is true even if it’s a minor misdemeanor offense.
On the contrary, it will only worsen the situation in the long run if you fail to acknowledge the warrant. It’s critical to speak with an experienced attorney if you find yourself facing an out-of-state warrant.
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