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  • Writer's pictureAttorney Joseph Soler

What is extradition in Florida?

The term "extradition" often brings up the image of an international criminal who jumps from country to country committing crimes and has finally been caught in some country and the relative courts battling over who gets to prosecute him. While this is a form of extradition, extradition happens everyday in the United States without the drama and worldly implications used by script writers. Extradition is simply the legal process used when someone commits a crime in one state and is arrested, usually on a warrant, in another state.

So how does extradition work?

Let's suppose that Mr. Smith has committed the crime of attempted murder in Sarasota county. After law enforcement has completed their investigation, and feel that they have probable cause to arrest Mr. Smith for attempted murder, the detectives will contact a judge in order to get an arrest warrant. The judge will review the warrant and will sign it if probable cause exists. Detectives will then attempt to make an arrest of Mr. Smith at his last known local address or work address. Not finding Mr. Smith, the warrant is entered on a national database to inform agencies across the U.S. that this person is wanted.

Meanwhile, Mr. Smith, in celebration of getting away with attempted murder, goes to his local bar in Alabama and has a drink. While there, he has a disagreement with another patron and gets into a fight. local officers arrest him for the fight. When officers enter his information into their criminal database, an alert notifying them of a warrant from Florida will pop up. The jail will then put a hold on Mr. Smith and notify the Sarasota Sheriff's Office that they have arrested Mr. Smith on their warrant. Alabama will then tell Mr. Smith about the warrant and he can either waive extradition, and he'll be picked up by a representative from Florida from the Alabama jail, or he can challenge extradition and then the governor would have to be contacted to sign an extradition warrant. Either way, Mr. Smith will end up being transported back to Sarasota to face the attempted murder charge.

When will Florida Extradite someone?

In Florida, it is often a question that is answered by the state attorney's office or local agencies. It can be quite expensive to go to various states to get somebody that is wanted and an agency will consider the cost and what charges this person faces. With a serious felony like murder, sexual battery, or drug trafficking charges, it is likely that the funds will be spent to go and get this individual. On the other hand, misdemeanors such as no valid driver's license, disorderly conduct, or trespass may not warrant extradition because the crimes are minor compared to the cost of getting the individual back to Florida. Every situation varies, however, so there is no clear rule as to when someone will be extradited.

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