blog home Uncategorized What Is an Extradition Hearing?

What Is an Extradition Hearing?

By San Diego Attorney on May 30, 2023

In this high angle view, an unrecognizable police officer and criminal stand beside a motor vehicle as the officer cuffs the criminal's wrists.

Extradition is surrendering an alleged criminal by one authority, such as a state or country, to another authority having jurisdiction to try the charge. Any person charged with a crime in one state (demanding state) and who goes to another state or country (asylum state) is subject to extradition, regardless of the reason for leaving and whether or not the person has actual knowledge of the charges.

What Happens When a Suspect Is Arrested on a Fugitive Warrant?

Extradition comes into play when a suspect is arrested on a fugitive warrant issued by the state or country seeking to extradite that suspect. The prosecutor in the asylum state files a fugitive complaint against the suspect. The suspect is arraigned and asked if he or she wishes to challenge or waive extradition.

Waiving extradition means consenting to be voluntarily transferred in custody to the demanding state. The suspect must execute a written waiver and remain in jail until picked up by law enforcement personnel who will return him or her to that state. This typically takes two weeks to a month. Bail cannot be posted unless it is permitted by the demanding state. A suspect who is allowed to post bail could subsequently return voluntarily out of custody to the demanding state to avoid extradition proceedings.

How Do Extradition Hearings Work in California?

If the suspect chooses to fight extradition, a hearing is set for ten days after the arraignment, and the suspect is held in custody. At the hearing, the prosecutor must establish probable cause to believe that the person named in the warrant is the same person named in the fugitive complaint. If the prosecutor prevails in the hearing, he or she prepares the necessary extradition papers and submits them to the governor’s office of the demanding state, where a governor’s warrant is issued. This entire process can take up to 90 days while the suspect remains in county jail.

When the governor’s warrant is received from the demanding state, it is reviewed by the asylum state. If the warrant is deemed proper, the asylum state issues a warrant demanding the arrest and rendition of the fugitive. In formal extradition, the appropriate agency in the demanding state sends agents to collect and bring the fugitive in front of a judge. If the governor’s warrant is never produced by the demanding state, the suspect is released from the county jail. Nevertheless, the warrant is still outstanding, and the suspect may be arrested again at any time or place.

What Are the Defenses Against Extradition?

When we represent you in an extradition matter, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can assert every applicable defense, including:

  • Challenging the validity of the extradition request or the evidence supporting it
  • Arguing that you are not the person named in the fugitive warrant issued by the demanding state
  • Asserting that you are being sought for political or other improper reasons
  • Seeking a plea agreement or other resolution that avoids extradition altogether

Do You Need a Lawyer if You Are Facing Extradition?

Being arrested on a fugitive warrant can mean spending weeks or months in jail, only to be transferred in custody to another state or country, where you will face criminal charges and penalties. Your best chance of obtaining the most favorable outcome is to have an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney representing you and protecting your rights.

At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we have experience on both sides of the courtroom. Our founding attorney is a board-certified criminal law specialist. Contact us at (760) 630-2000 for the skilled criminal defense you need if you face extradition in California.

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