By Rebecca Wade

You’ve seen it before on reality TV: a person commits a crime, then flees the area in an attempt to avoid facing the charges. When the individual is caught in another state or even another country, they are brought back to the original jurisdiction to face the music.

The process of bringing a person back to the original jurisdiction to face criminal charges is called extradition. Extradition is governed by federal laws, though it is possible for states to have laws that also govern extradition, as long as those laws don’t go against the federal laws.

Typically, if a person with a felony warrant is caught in another jurisdiction, the jurisdiction that catches them will work to ensure that the arrest warrant is valid. Once the warrant is validated, the arrest is made. A series of court proceedings and other occurrences happen to ensure everything is in order for the person to be handed over to the warrant-holding authority.

It’s important to note that the jurisdiction that arrests the person can’t analyze the evidence or circumstances of the original jurisdiction. The Supreme Court has listed four specific points that can be checked by the jurisdiction holding the individual who has committed a crime:

  1. Whether the person is a fugitive from justice
  2. Whether the documents are in order
  3. Whether the person the jurisdiction is holding is the individual named in the request
  4. Whether the person has been charged with a crime

If you are facing extradition, it’s crucial that you know your rights. It is wise to consult an attorney and consider all your options carefully.

About the Author

This is a photo of Rebecca Wade. She is a family law and criminal defense attorney at Old Town Lawyers.

Rebecca Janet Wade

Rebecca Wade is a partner at Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner PLLC, practicing in all areas of family law and criminal law having experience with protective orders, divorce, child custody and visitation, child protective services investigations, juvenile delinquency, and criminal charges.

Wade has been named a 2023 Best Lawyer in America by U.S. News & World Report, a 2023 Super Lawyer in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., and a 2020-2021 Top Lawyer by Northern Virginia Magazine.