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Extradition to Leon County, Florida

We are often contacted by individuals living out of state who learn that a warrant was issued for their arrest by a judge in Leon County, FL, or the surrounding areas.

In certain instances, the state of Florida can request that a person is extradited or “brought back” to Leon County if they are accused of committing a crime and then leaving the state prior to facing prosecution for such crime.

Essentially, the Florida Governor or executive authority can request to have a person extradited back to the state when they are accused of committing a crime or fleeing without completing or meeting the terms of their probation. Alternatively, a person from outside of Florida who is alleged to have committed a crime or violated the terms of a legal agreement may be surrendered on demand of the executive authority of such other state.

For any person facing allegations of a crime or being a fugitive of justice, it is imperative that you consider hiring legal counsel. An experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney can help you identify any defense strategies that may be applicable to your case and can represent you if you choose to partake in an extradition hearing.

Lawyer in Tallahassee for Extradition to Florida

Are you or a loved one facing extradition back to Leon County or a surrounding area of Northern Florida for an alleged crime? If so, you should consider retaining local legal counsel in the jurisdiction where the case will be prosecuted. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law Firm in Tallahassee aggressively defend clients with extradition warrants for a new felony offense or a violation of probation.

Our defense attorneys represent individuals accused of crimes in communities such as Graceville, Perry, Marianna, Malone, Blountstown, Wewahitchka, and Port St. Joe. We understand how stressful getting accused of a crime can be—especially if it occurred in a state where you don’t reside. Whatever the circumstances are, contact a defense attorney with Pumphrey Law to review your case details in a free consultation. Call our office today at (850) 681-7777 for our lawyers to review your case and help you understand your legal options.

What is Extradition?

Extradition is the legal process that refers to the removal of a person from a requested jurisdiction (the asylum state) to another (the demanding state) when such person is accused of being a fugitive of justice or to face criminal prosecution.

Under 18 U.S.C § 921, a fugitive from justice is defined as any person who has fled from any State to avoid prosecution for a crime or to avoid providing a testimony in a criminal procedure.

Federal Extradition Clause

The relationship between the federal government and each state is outlined under Article Four of the United States Constitution. Section Two of Article Four is referred to as the Extradition Clause, which provides the following:

A person charged in any State with Treason, a felony, or other criminal offense, who has fled from Justice, and is found in another State, shall be delivered to the State having jurisdiction over the crime, on demand of the executive Authority of the State from which the defendant was accused to have fled.

Since each state has sovereignty over its territory, a criminal defendant cannot be prosecuted in a different state from the jurisdiction in which the alleged crime was committed. The Extradition Clause was enacted to prevent criminal suspects from fleeing the state to avoid being brought to justice.

When the state of Florida issues a warrant for the arrest of a person in another state (such as tourists who were arrested while visiting the Sunshine State), the alleged offender may be extradited back to Florida to answer criminal charges—and be required to pay the substantial costs involved with extradition.

It’s important for any person facing criminal accusations to understand the definition of extradition and how the process works in Florida. Further, securing legal representation is the best way to protect your rights and your future during this challenging time.

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Requirements Under the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act

Congress passed the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA) to establish the process by which states can request the surrender of alleged offenders and the manner in which those individuals are surrendered. The UCEA has been adopted by nearly every state in the nation, including Florida.

While there is some slight variation in how states have adopted the UCEA, the act generally provides specific requirements for extradition proceedings, which are outlined under Florida Statute Chapter 941:

  • The state requesting extradition must issue a valid arrest warrant, or by a copy of a judgement of conviction or sentence imposed in execution by the demanding state that the person has broken the terms of their bail, probation, or parole;
  • The Governor of Florida, or other executive authority of the state, holds the duty of requesting the extradition, arrest, and delivery of any person charged in that state with treason, felony, or other crime who has fled from justice. The Governor or other executive authority must provide a written request for extradition;
  • The alleged offender subject to extradition is entitled to a hearing and legal representation by a lawyer to determine if the request for extradition is supported by the facts of the case;
  • The alleged offender may waive the requirement for a hearing. Otherwise, the court must make a judicial finding that the request from the Governor or executive of the state requesting extradition meets all legal requirements;
  • The state requesting extradition must take custody of and transport the alleged offender within 30 days of their arrest for the out-of-state warrant; and
  • If the state requesting extradition does not take custody within 30 days, the alleged offender may be discharged or recommitted for a period not exceeding 60 days.

Under Florida Statute Section 941.26(3), a Florida law enforcement agency holding a person suspected of breaking the terms of their probation, parole, bail, or other release in another demanding state shall be immediately delivered to the authorized agent of such demanding state without the requirement of a governor’s warrant if:

  • The person signed a prior waiver of extradition as a term of their current probation, parole, bail, or other release in the demanding state; and
  • The law enforcement agency holding the alleged offender has received a copy of the prior waiver of extradition signed by the alleged offender and confirmed by the demanding agency, as well as photographs, fingerprints, or other evidence that properly identifies the person as the individual who signed such waiver.

Process for Extradition in Florida

When a person has an outstanding warrant in Florida and the jurisdiction believes the alleged offender has relocated to another state, the local criminal justice agency may enter that person’s information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The NCIC is a federal database that contains information on fugitives and other people with outstanding warrants in all 50 states.

Law enforcement agencies across the nation can view and search NCIC during routine traffic stops. If a police officer discovers a subject’s record in the NCIC, they are required to contact the agency that entered the information to ensure of its accuracy and to take whatever action may be required—potentially placing the individual under arrest for extradition.

Florida law provides two types of warrants that commonly result in extradition proceedings:

  • Felony Charges – An alleged offender has either been accused of a felony offense or has had a warrant issued for failing to appear in court to answer criminal charges.
  • Violation of Probation – An alleged offender who was placed on probation or some other form of court supervision leaves the state and fails to report to the assigned probation officer.

Important: Federal law provides that a person accused of any criminal offense could face extradition. That means misdemeanor offenses could also result in the extradition of the alleged offender. While this is a rare occurrence, a Leon County defense attorney can help represent your misdemeanor extradition case.

Once the alleged offender has been arrested on an out-of-state warrant, the defendant can choose one of three options:

  1. Consent to Extradition – The most common option, referred to as a Written Waiver of Extradition Proceedings. Under Florida Statute Section 941.26, this is where the accused person consents to returning to the demanding state or has signed a waiver of extradition as the terms of their probation, bail, or other release in the demanding state.
  2. Request an Extradition Bond – After being arrested on an out-of-state warrant, the accused person may have to wait up to 30 days in jail for the demanding state to either retrieve them or hold an extradition hearing. In some cases, a Florida judge can grant the defendant an extradition bond, in which they pay a bond for the defendant’s release with the promise of appearing in all future court proceedings in Florida for the extradition.
  3. Request an Extradition Hearing – The person arrested on an out-of-state warrant can request an extradition hearing to challenge the grounds of the arrest warrant and the need to be extradited back to the arresting jurisdiction. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a Florida defense attorney can provide defense strategies to help during this stage.

When a person has been arrested in another state and is awaiting extradition to Florida, they can hire a defense attorney to take several steps in achieving the most favorable outcome to that person’s case. The attorney can petition to have the court withdraw the arrest warrant to avoid the costly price of extradition, although this can result in having the alleged offender offer to voluntarily return to Florida to turn themselves in. An attorney may also be able to convince a judge to terminate the probation or have the prosecutor drop the criminal charges.

Consult the defense team at Pumphrey Law to discuss the details of your case and determine the next steps towards your freedom.

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Florida Extradition Resources

The following provides relevant resources regarding extradition in Florida:

  • Florida Statutes | Chapter 941 | Corrections: Interstate Cooperation
    View the full text of the statutes governing extradition in the state of Florida. Learn more about the form of demand, the manner and place of execution, and the rights of the accused person. You can also find information about forfeiture of bail, costs and expenses, and immunity from service of process in certain civil actions.
  • FBI | National Crime Information Center
    You can learn more about the history and purpose of the NCIC on this section of the FBI website. Information includes the specific files contained in the NCIC database, how the NCIC is used, and what security and quality controls are in place. The website also features recent accomplishments and success stories of the NCIC.

Find a Lawyer for Extradition to Florida in Tallahassee

Getting accused of criminal charges in any sense is a stressful scenario to find yourself in. Whether you were arrested because of a warrant for a felony offense or a violation of probation, you should contact a defense attorney as soon as possible. The process of extradition is a complex one; however, with the right legal representation, you can rest assured knowing you have a counsel protecting your rights and fighting for your freedom.

The Pumphrey Law criminal defense attorneys in Tallahassee serve communities in Leon County and the surrounding areas, such as: Jackson County, Gulf County, Calhoun County, Taylor County, and Madison County. Our firm provides honest and thorough evaluations of criminal cases when you call (850) 681-7777 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Page Updated February 6, 2024

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