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Extradition on Fugitive Warrants to Florida

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent men and women on fugitive arrest warrants who are awaiting extradition back to the State of Florida to answer felony criminal charges. Our offices are located in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL.

The attorneys in the firm represent clients in extradition cases throughout the greater Tampa Bay area, including Hillsborough County, Hernando County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Manatee County and Polk County, Florida.

In some cases, you can avoid extradition back to Florida by hiring an attorney to begin working on a dismissal of the underlying case. The four attorneys in our firm are focused exclusively on criminal defense. We represent clients facing extradition to or from Florida.

You also need an attorney to represent you on a fugitive extradition warrant because in Hillsborough County and the surrounding counties, the courts have created administrative orders that require a first appearance hearing before the defendant can bond out of custody.

Call 813-250-0500 today to discuss your case.

Does Florida Extradite on a Felony Warrant?

We are often asked: "Does Florida extradite on a felony warrant?"

The short answer is: Yes. Florida does extradite a fugitive to and from other states on a felony warrant. The procedure is supposed to take about 30 days but can take several times that long. Florida has adopted the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA) and is NOT a “non-extradition state.”

The policy behind extradition is to discourage people from fleeing to another jurisdiction to avoid justice. If you are wanted on a warrant, you are not permitted to possess a firearm. The warrant will also interfere with your ability to find a job or secure any type of government benefits.

Does Florida extradite for misdemeanor warrants?

We are often asked: "Does Florida extradite on a misdemeanor warrant?"

The short answer is: No. Florida will only extradite on a felony warrant and will not extradite on a misdemeanor warrant (except for a few exceptions related to the failure to pay child support or domestic violence). However, Florida will often transport a person from one county to another on a misdemeanor warrant.

For example, if you have a "no bond" warrant out of Polk County, FL, but you get picked up in Hillsborough County, then you will be held in Hillsborough County on an out of county hold and then transported to Polk County where you will be booked into the jail there on the warrant. Many people arrested on a misdemeanor warrant in Florida are arrested at the airport or when entering or exiting a cruise ship in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

Consequences of Being a Fugitive from Justice - Even on a Misdemeanor

Under Federal law, you lose many of your civil rights while you are a fugitive from justice, even if the crime is just a misdemeanor. This can happen if you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest that was never served on you or if a warrant was issued after you failed to appear in court.

If the warrant was issued in Florida and you leave the state of Florida, then you are considered a fugitive from justice. While you are a fugitive from justice, you are not allowed to purchase or possess a firearm under Federal law.

For example, 18 U.S.C. § 922[g](2) prohibits certain individuals from possessing firearms or ammunition, including anyone who is considered to be a fugitive from justice. The term "fugitive from justice" is defined as "Any person who has fled from any State to avoid prosecution for a felony or a misdemeanor; or any person who leaves the State to avoid giving testimony in any criminal proceeding."

The term also includes any person who knows that misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against such person and who leaves the State of prosecution. The penalty for violating this federal law is ten years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine.

Prosecutorial Discretion in Extradition Cases

The decision whether or not to seek the return of a fugitive from another jurisdiction should rest in the sound discretion of the local prosecutor. In exercising this discretion, the prosecutor may consider certain criteria including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. The disposition that can reasonably be expected if the fugitive is returned and convicted;
  2. The nature of the proceeding for which the fugitive's return is sought;
  3. The future effect of the prosecutor's decision as an indication of policy;
  4. The current status of the defendant;
  5. The expense involved in transportation; and
  6. The likelihood of conviction once the fugitive inmate is returned to Florida.

What are the Rules for Extradition in Florida?

The extradition laws in Florida provide for a process of bringing a person arrested out of state on a fugitive warrant back to this state of Florida to answer the criminal charges. Many people sit in jail for weeks or months not knowing that they have options that might help them avoid extradition.

If you have a fugitive warrant then you should contact an attorney in the area where the warrant originated first. (You might also decide to retain an attorney in the jurisdiction where you are being detained so that bail or bond can be set for your release if no relief is granted in the state that issued the warrant.)

The Court that issued the warrant in Florida can also consider setting lifting the warrant temporarily or setting a reasonable bond and allowing you to voluntarily return to Florida to surrender on the warrant.

You should also understand that if you waive extradition, you may be held in custody until authorities from the State of Florida come to get you. The timeline might take longer if you fight extradition. Either way, you might be held in custody for up to 30 days (or possibly as long as 90 days) in order to permit the State of Florida to begin extradition proceedings against you and schedule the transportation.

The Courts in Florida have certain options to release you from custody so that you can avoid extradition. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you resolve your case. Find out more about the possibility of avoiding the costly and time-consuming process of extradition.

Your attorney can also help you resolve the underlying felony charges as quickly as possible while still protecting all of your rights to fight the underlying charges aggressively. Call a criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your case by calling 813-250-0500.

Two Types of Florida Extradition Warrants

This article discusses two of the most common situations in which a fugitive warrant requires extradition from one state to another: 

  • Old Violation of Probation Warrant - An individual is put on probation in Florida. The individual moves out of state. The Court in Florida issues a warrant for violation of probation. Florida puts out a notice on the NCIC that it will extradite the individual back to Florida if the individual is arrested on the fugitive warrant in another state. The individual is eventually arrested in another state on the fugitive warrant. While awaiting extradition, the individual will sit in jail.
  • An extradition lawyer can petition the court in Florida asking to temporarily withdraw the warrant so that the individual can be released from jail in the other state, and then voluntarily drive himself to Florida to surrender directly to the court to resolve the case.
  • In some of these cases, the judge may just decide to withdraw the warrant and terminate the probation so that the individual never has to return to Florida to answer the charges that he violated probation. This is the best outcome but it usually requires some extraordinary showing that the violation of probation warrant is extremely old, and that the individual has turned his life around and become a productive member of society without any new arrests. It also helps to make sure that all outstanding restitution, court costs and cost of supervision are paid in full.
  • Although difficult in most cases, an extradition lawyer in the area where the defendant is being held while awaiting extradition, can petition the court to allow the defendant to post bond on the fugitive warrant. (Usually it is more productive to hire an attorney in the area where the warrant was issued instead of an attorney in the area where the defendant is being held while awaiting extradition).
  • The benefit of avoiding extradition is that the individual can avoid being required to reimburse Florida for the cost of extradition, which typically costs more than $2,000.00 but can run much higher. The individual may be able to avoid posting bond or paying a premium to the bail bondsman. Of course, the individual can avoid sitting in jail while awaiting extradition, avoid the actual extradition bus ride to Florida, and avoid sitting in jail in Florida while waiting for his first court date.
  • Felony Warrant on Criminal Charges - An individual is accused of a crime because of some incident that occurred in the State of Florida. After the incident, the individual moves out of state. A judge in Florida issues a warrant for the individual's arrest. Notice of the warrant is sent to the NCIC and FCIC (national and Florida database of information on criminal records and outstanding warrants). The individual is picked up in another state and held on the fugitive warrant.
  • An attorney can petition the court in Florida to withdraw the fugitive warrant to avoid extradition.
  • An attorney can contact the prosecutor to begin working on defending the criminal case, including asking to have the charges dropped, or filing a motion to suppress or a motion to dismiss the criminal accusation. Additionally, the attorney can work with the prosecutor to stipulate to setting a reasonable bond if the court is unwilling to withdraw the warrant.
  • Although difficult in most cases, an attorney in the area where you are being held can petition the court to allow you to post bond on the fugitive warrant. This is usually the least desirable option because it is usually more efficient to hire an attorney in the area where the warrant was issued. In some cases, the client may want to hire an attorney in both jurisdictions if he intends to fight extradition.
  • The same benefits of avoiding extradition discussed above apply: avoiding any need to repay Florida the money it cost to extradite you, avoiding posting bond, avoiding sitting in jail for months while awaiting extradition, and avoiding sitting in jail in Florida on the criminal charges.

The Cost for Extradition to Florida

Extradition costs are imposed and enforced as costs of prosecution under sections 938.27 and 938.30. See Thompson v. State, 699 So.2d 329 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997) (holding that extradition costs are costs of prosecution).

Therefore, as a criminal sanction in a criminal case, violation of probation case or violation of community control case, the court can order that the defendant pay the costs of extradition as part of the criminal punishment imposed. Some courts will impose the extradition costs as a civil lien.

The Extradition Clause in the Florida Constitution

The Extradition Clause provides a procedure for the return of a person accused of a crime in one state who is present in another state. The original authority for interstate extradition is the United States Constitution, Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2 which provides as follows:

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

Illegal Abduction from Another Nation with an Extradition Treaty

In some cases, your attorney will fight the case on the basis that the defendant was illegally transport to the United States for trial. If the prosecutors in the jurisdiction where the case is pending violate the extradition treaty between another county and the United States, then the defense attorney might be able to file a motion to dismiss the case because of these violations.

The United States Supreme Court in United States v. Alvarez-Machain, 504 U.S. 655, 657 (1992), however, held that “a criminal defendant, abducted to the United States from a nation with which it has an extradition treaty, [does not] thereby acquire[ ] a defense to the jurisdiction of this country's courts.”

The power of a court to try a person for crime is not necessarily impaired by the fact that the defendant has been brought within the court's jurisdiction by reason of a “forcible abduction.” . . . They rest on the sound basis that due process of law is satisfied when one present in court is convicted of crime after having been fairly apprized of the charges against him and after a fair trial in accordance with constitutional procedural safeguards. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires a court to permit a guilty person rightfully convicted to escape justice because he was brought to trial against his will. Serrano v. State, 64 So. 3d 93, 107-08 (Fla. 2011).

The Uniform Criminal Extradition Act

Congress implemented this provision through 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3182 (1985), which provides for interstate cooperation in the apprehension and delivery of fugitives on demand from the executive authority of the requesting state, district, or territory from which the person fled. Every state in the United States has adopted provisions of the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA).

The UCEA provides for a more uniform process for one state to demand the surrender of a person in another state who is accused of a crime. Each state has slightly different requirements under the UCEA, however, the extradition act generally provides the following requirements:

  1. The demanding state must issue a valid arrest warrant;
  2. The Governor or other executive authority of the demanding state must make a written request;
  3. The person awaiting extradition is entitled to a hearing and representation by an attorney;
  4. Extradition may be waived by the person accused;
  5. If extradition is not waived, then the court must make certain findings on the request for extradition to ensure compliance with all legal requirements;
  6. The demanding state must take custody and transport the person accused within 30 days.

For more information about the extradition laws of Florida, or to obtain an attorney to represent an individual awaiting extradition from another state, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the case at 813-250-0500.

Statement of Your Rights at the First Court Appearance for Extradition to Florida

If you are being detained for extradition to another state, you have certain rights that can be exercised at your first court appearance. In cases where you are being held for extradition back to Florida, the State of Florida will allege typically that you have done one of the following:

  1. been charged with a crime and not appeared in court;
  2. broken the terms of bond or bail; or
  3. been convicted of a crime and violated conditions of release, the sentence, probation or parole; or escaped from custody.

If you are being detained in another State because the State of Florida seeks your return, then Florida will advise the authorities in the other state that they have or intend to start extradition proceedings for your return to Florida.

At the first court appearance, you must decide whether to challenge the legality of your arrest or fight the extradition (return) to the State of Florida. You will also be asked to acknowledge that you have received a copy of any complaint or extradition papers that have been issued, and I have been given a Waiver of Extradition form. You should understand that you have certain rights, including: 

  1. You have the right to be represented by an attorney.
  2. An attorney will be appointed to represent you if you cannot afford to pay for an attorney.
  3. You do not have to say anything about the facts or circumstances of the case.
  4. Anything you do say can be used against you.
  5. You have the right to challenge the legality of your arrest and to apply for a Writ of Habeas Corpus.
  6. You have the right to fight your extradition (return) to the State of Florida.
  7. You have the right to speak to an attorney before deciding whether to challenge your arrest or to fight extradition.
  8. You have a right to have bail set.

You should also understand that if you waive extradition, you may be held in custody until authorities from the State of Florida come to get you. If you fight extradition, you may be held in custody for up to 30 days (or possibly as long as 90 days) in order to permit the State of Florida to begin extradition proceedings against you. With those rights in mind, you may request a court-appointed attorney, request a continuance to consult a private attorney, or waive (give up) your right to have an attorney.

You may challenge the legality of my arrest, waive (give up) my right to challenge the legality of my arrest, fight your extradition (return) to the State of Florida, or waive (give up) your right to fight your extradition (return) to the State of Florida.

Private Prisoner Transport Companies for Extradition to Florida

For inmates being transported to Florida, the private prisoner transport company must be in compliance with the Department of Justice Policies for Interstate Transportation of Dangerous Criminals (also known as “Jeanna’s Act”). Title 28 for Judicial Administration, PART 97— Standards for Private Entities Providing Prisoner or Detainee Service.

The DOJ Policies provide minimum security and safety standards for private companies that transport violent prisoners on behalf of State and local jurisdictions. Jeanna’s Act sets standards minimum standards for:

  • employee uniform and identification;
  • standards to ensure the safety of violent prisoners during transport;
  • guard to prisoner ratio;
  • maximum driving time;
  • notification of local law enforcement prior to scheduled stops;
  • clothing requirements for transported violent prisoners;
  • immediate notification of local law enforcement in the event of an escape;
  • pre-employment screening; and
  • employee training.

Many of these companies provide inmate transfer services are 7 days a week—both by ground and air. For longer distances, it may be more efficient and cost-effective to transport a prisoner by air.

In those cases, the private prisoner transport company can partners with commercial airlines to safely and securely move a prisoner from one location to the next. Companies in Florida include US Prisoner Transport in Melbourne, Florida, and State Extraditions. Inc., in Longwood, FL.

Extradition Laws in Florida


Florida Statute Section 941.03

Form of demand. -- No demand for the extradition of a person charged with crime in another state shall be recognized by the Governor of Florida unless in writing alleging, except in cases arising under s. 941.06, that the accused was present in the demanding state at the time of the commission of the alleged crime, and that thereafter he or she fled from Florida, and accompanied by an authenticated copy of an indictment found or by information supported by affidavit in Florida, or by a copy of a warrant supported by an affidavit made before a committing magistrate of Florida; or by a copy of a judgment of conviction or of a sentence imposed in execution thereof, together with a statement by the executive authority of the demanding state that the person claimed has escaped from confinement or has broken the terms of his or her bail, probation, or parole.

The indictment, information, or affidavit made before the magistrate must substantially charge the person demanded with having committed a crime under the law of Florida; and the copy of indictment, information, affidavit, judgment of conviction, or sentence must be authenticated by the executive authority making the demand.

Florida Statute Section 941.05

Extradition of persons imprisoned or awaiting trial in another state or who have left Florida under compulsion.--

(1)  When it is desired to have returned to Florida a person charged in Florida with a crime, and such person is imprisoned or is held under criminal proceedings then pending against the person in another state, the Governor of Florida may agree with the executive authority of such other state for the extradition of such person before the conclusion of such proceedings or the person's term of sentence in such other state, upon condition that such person be returned to such other state at the expense of Florida as soon as the prosecution in Florida is terminated.

(2)  The Governor of Florida may also surrender on demand of the executive authority of any other state any person in Florida who is charged in the manner provided in s. 941.23 with having violated the laws of the state whose executive authority is making the demand, even though such person left the demanding state involuntarily.

Florida Statute Section 941.06

Extradition of persons not present in demanding state at time of commission of crime.--The Governor of Florida may also surrender, on demand of the executive authority of any other state, any person in this state charged in such other state in the manner provided in s. 941.03 with committing an act in Florida, or in a third state, intentionally resulting in a crime in the state whose executive authority is making the demand, and the provisions of this chapter not otherwise inconsistent, shall apply to such cases, even though the accused was not in that state at the time of the commission of the crime, and has not fled therefrom.

Florida Statute Section 941.10

Rights of accused person; application for writ of habeas corpus. --

(1)  No person arrested upon such warrant shall be delivered over to the agent whom the executive authority demanding the person shall have appointed to receive him or her unless the person shall first be taken forthwith before a judge of a court of record in Florida, who shall inform the person of the demand made for his or her surrender and of the crime with which the person is charged, and that the person has the right to demand and procure legal counsel; and if the prisoner or his or her counsel shall state that he or she or they desire to test the legality of the arrest, the judge of such court of record shall fix a reasonable time to be allowed him or her within which to apply for a writ of habeas corpus.

When such writ is applied for, notice thereof, and of the time and place of hearing thereon, shall be given to the state attorney for the county in which the arrest is made, and in which the accused is in custody, and to the said agent of the demanding state.

(2)  A warrant issued under s. 941.07 shall be presumed to be valid, and unless a court finds that the person in custody is not the same person named in the warrant, or that the person is not a fugitive from justice, or otherwise subject to extradition under s. 941.06, or that there is no criminal charge or criminal proceeding pending against the person in the demanding state, or that the documents are not on their face in order, the person named in the warrant shall be held in custody at all times and shall not be eligible for release on bail.

Florida Statute Section 941.22

Fugitives from Florida ; duty of Governor.--Whenever the Governor of Florida shall demand a person charged with crime or with escaping from confinement or breaking the terms of his or her bail, probation, or parole in Florida, from the executive authority of any other state, or from the Chief Justice or an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia authorized to receive such demand under the laws of the United States, the Governor of Florida shall issue a warrant under the seal of Florida, to some agent, commanding the agent to receive the person so charged if delivered to him or her and convey the person to the proper officer of the county in Florida in which the offense was committed.

Extradition Information Center

Extradition on Fugitive Warrant to Brevard County, FL - Information from criminal defense attorneys from the Law Offices of Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC, in Melbourne, Florida, for extradition cases in Brevard County, Seminole County, Orange County, Volusia County, Indian River County, and Osceola County, Florida.

Extradition Laws in the United States - Includes information on interstate extradition, proposed extradition agreements, procedures, time limits, and extradition to foreign countries. Read more about the process for the extradition of witnesses.

Another Death on a For-Profit Extradition Vehicle to Florida - Read more about people who are injured, sexually assault or die while being transported on a fugitive warrant between states in a for-profit extradition vehicle. Learn more about prisoner transportation services and trips to Florida with inmates during the extradition process.

Finding an Extradition Attorney in Hillsborough County, FL

If you or a loved one are awaiting extradition back to Hillsborough County, FL, or the surrounding counties in the greater Tampa Bay area then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.

Our attorneys also clients exercise their rights to their own extradition pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act. We represent clients on felony warrants in Florida.

We work hard to fight the underlying charges so that our clients can be released from custody as quickly as possible. Call 813-250-0500 to discuss your case with an experienced attorney who can help you understand all options that might be available to fight the case.

This article was last updated by on Friday, March 30, 2018.