Extradition in Florida

If you or a loved one have an outstanding Extradition Warrant, you need to know the:

Definition of Extradition

Extradition is the formal process by which a fugitive arrested in one state (the asylum state) on an extradition warrant is surrendered to another state (the demanding state) for trial or punishment.

Extradition Warrant

An Extradition Warrant is an Arrest Warrant issued by another state, requesting that a fugitive be arrested and transported back to the demanding state.

The primary reason an attorney is needed in interstate extradition cases is that even if the demanding state has authorized the person to post a bond, the bond cannot be posted in the asylum state, only in the demanding state.

As a result, the person must remain incarcerated until the demanding state retrieves the fugitive; a process that often takes thirty (30) days or more.

However, this situation can sometimes be avoided by convincing a judge in the asylum state to set what is known as an Extradition Bond.

Florida Extradition Proceedings

Once a person is arrested on an out-of-state warrant, referred to as a fugitive warrant, the person has three options. They can either:

  1. Consent to Extradition
  2. Request an Extradition Bond
  3. Request an Extradition Hearing

Formally referred to as a Written Waiver of Extradition Proceedings, consent to extradition occurs in the vast majority of extradition cases.

This is because the likelihood of successfully challenging extradition is very small and by the time an extradition hearing is even heard, they would have already been transported back to the demanding state - where they could then bond out.

Request an Extradition Bond

As mentioned, the only way to avoid incarceration pending extradition is to convince a judge in the asylum state to set what is known as an Extradition Bond.

An Extradition Bond allows a person to post a bail-bond conditioned on an agreement that the person will appear at any future court proceedings in Florida regarding the extradition request. [1]

Though not always the case, extradition bonds are usually sought by people who acknowledge the validity of the fugitive warrant but are willing to voluntarily travel to the demanding state to surrender, bond out on the charges in the demanding state, and then return to Florida to provide proof of the surrender. Once the proof of surrender is provided, the extradition bond in Florida is released.

Request an Extradition Hearing

Before a person will be extradited, the following procedural safeguards must be met to insure that a lawful arrest warrant was issued and that the person arrested is actually the person wanted.

  1. An arrest warrant issued by another state (the demanding state).
  2. The demanding state produces a sworn charging document alleging a criminal offense.
    • The document must be certified as authentic by the demanding state.
  3. The sworn documents provide sufficient information identifying the arrested person as the actual fugitive.
  4. The demanding state must retrieve the fugitive within thirty days from time of arrest or the fugitive will be released.
    • Some states allow up to 90 days before they will release a fugitive.

Florida Extradition Defenses

As a result of the above procedural safeguards, the primary defenses available to contest interstate extradition are the defenses of:

  1. Dual Criminality
  2. Insufficient Documentation
  3. Insufficient Identification

If these defenses are sufficiently raised, the asylum state judge will either release the person, with or without bond, or continue the extradition hearing thirty additionally days or more to allow the demanding state time to correct the deficient information.

Dual Criminality

Dual criminality (also known as Double Criminality) is a requirement that a fugitive can only be extradited from an asylum state to a demanding state, if the asylum state criminalizes the same type of conduct that forms the basis of the demanding state's extradition warrant.

As a result, an extradition warrant can be challenged if it is based on conduct that the asylum state does not consider to be a criminal offense.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you or a loved one have been arrested on an out-of-state warrant, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer to assist you in challenging the extradition proceeding or obtaining an extradition bond.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action to take.

References

  1. Burkhart v. Jenne, 814 So. 2d 1064 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001)