If you have been arrested in St. Petersburg on an extradition warrant from another state, Florida law gives you the right to a hearing in which you can fight the extradition. Goldman Wetzel can help. Our defense attorneys will aggressively defend your rights and counsel you during your proceedings. Call our office today at 727-828-3900 for a free consultation.
What is extradition?
When you are wanted for a crime in another state but are residing in Florida, that state (the demanding state) might take legal steps to bring you back for trial or punishment. Extradition is the process a state must take to demand that Florida hold you and return you. The state laws that govern the extradition process are in Florida Statutes Chapter 941.
The crimes for which a state will demand extradition differ by state. Most states will not demand extradition for misdemeanors, but they must extradite for felonies under the Constitution. For example, a state will likely not extradite you for a disorderly conduct charge, but will for a rape charge. Much depends on the particular state’s laws, the severity of the alleged crime, and the aggressiveness of the state’s prosecutor.
If the demanding state wants Florida to detain you until it extradites you from St. Petersburg, it must go through a certain legal procedure. The state cannot simply come pick you up and take you back.
During the extradition proceedings, you have the right to legal representation. When you enlist our help, we will consider all options to give you the best possible outcome in your case.
How do extradition proceedings work?
Extradition proceedings vary slightly from state to state, but most states have adopted the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, federal laws that provide the process for interstate cooperation for extradition.
The process begins when the demanding state issues an extradition warrant, an arrest warrant that requests that the asylum state detain the fugitive who is to be transported back to the demanding state. After a person with at out-of-state-warrant has been placed under arrest, the defendant will have three options:
- Consent to the Extradition: The defendant may elect to consent to the extradition and return to the demanding state. This process is referred to as a Written Waiver of Extradition Proceedings. Many defendants opt to consent to the extradition because the chances are good that you could return to the demanding state, bond out, and return to Florida in less time than it would take to use either of the other two options.
CAUTION: Do not make a decision and consent without first having talked to our team. Each case is different and you need a lawyer to confirm that a waiver is the right way to go for you.
- Request an Extradition Bond: When you are in jail and waiting for the demanding state to retrieve you or waiting for your extradition hearing, you may have to wait up to 30 days in jail. To avoid this, we can request the Florida judge grant you an extradition bond. When you bail out on an extradition bond, you promise to appear in court at any future proceedings in Florida regarding the extradition.
After being released on an extradition bond, some defendants decide to return to the demanding state of their own accord to surrender and bond on the charges they face there. They can then return to Florida and provide proof of surrender, at which time the court will release the extradition bond.
- Request a Hearing: If you wish to challenge the extradition, we can request a hearing to fight it. There are several defenses that your attorney can use, depending on the facts of your case.
Below are a few examples of issues your lawyer can bring to the judge:
- Your lawyer can challenge the demanding state’s evidence of your identity. If the state cannot prove you are the right person, it cannot extradite you.
- The documentation supporting the extradition may be invalid or incomplete. The demanding state must provide authenticated documents of your original indictment, an affidavit from the state or a copy of your conviction, and a letter from state that you have broken the terms of your bail, probation, or parole.
- If the demanding state has not come for you within 30 days, Florida is under no obligation to hold you any longer.
Call Goldman Wetzel for Help with Extradition Proceedings
If you are facing extradition in Florida, call the criminal defense lawyers at Goldman Wetzel in St. Petersburg to discuss your case. We can review your circumstances, counsel you on your legal options, and protect your rights as we represent you in court. Contact us today.