As criminal defense lawyers in Tampa, we know that it is troubling to be arrested for any reason whatsoever. “What should I do?”, “what do I tell my family and friends?” and “will I have to remain in jail?” These are all questions that come to mind and many, many more.

However, things may become even more complicated and stressful if you have an open out-of-state warrant. Whether the local state officials can arrest you for an out-of-state warrant is dependent on different factors, but the short answer is, yes they can.

There are variables from state to state, and many of them depend on exactly what the out-of-state warrant is issued for. If you have committed a felony crime, you most likely will be arrested in the state you are in. For most misdemeanor crimes, however, many states will not arrest you nor extradite you for the crime.

If you have a sexually related misdemeanor, though, things may go differently. A bench warrant could be executed for you by the authorities that are holding you. You need to know that the real answer to the whole matter is unfortunately that “it depends”.

In any state, jurisdiction is relatively simple. The officers have the right to arrest you in the current state you are in. If you are arrested in Florida, then the Florida authorities have the right to arrest, investigate, and charge you with the crime.

If the crime is serious enough, or of a certain type (such as misdemeanor sexual offenses), then they can issue a state bench warrant and hold you. They will only incarcerate you locally, and work with the other state to extradite you. All the investigation and prosecution will be done by the state that issued the warrant.

Because this situation many times does not have a simple or straightforward answer, you should consult with a local criminal attorney. You need an attorney who will fight back, guide you through this legal maze and make it as painless as possible.

How do Florida, or Possibly the Other State’s Extradition Laws Work?

Florida (and most other state) extradition laws decide how the state you committed the crime in can bring you back for felony criminal charges. There are definite legal options available to you, and you should know what they are. This will help you get out of spending time in jail while waiting for extradition. Extradition is very expensive for the states (including Florida), and the courts would much rather have you voluntarily return to the state to face the warrant.

This is a serious reason to consult with a local criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. They often can even save you money in this regard, as the courts will pass the costs of extradition along to you. To reiterate though, most of these options are affected by the seriousness of the crime.

Violation of probation is one of the most common things that will cause an out-of-state warrant to be issued. You may have been put on felony probation in another state and applied to transfer the probation to another state, or you may have moved out of the state without your probation officer’s knowledge. Years may even go by, and then you are stopped for a traffic violation or have an accident.

If the officer checks the NCIC (National Criminal Information Center), they may discover the out-of-state warrant. Violation of probation warrants almost always have “no bond” provisions. This gives you another reason to retain a defense lawyer representing out-of-state defendants to be on your side.

So How Can I Most Effectively Deal with an Out-Of-State Criminal Charge?

There are certain things to consider when you have been held on an out-of-state warrant. Both you and your criminal defense attorney should go over them carefully. Your criminal lawyer will explain them thoroughly, and you can then chart the best way to expeditiously and effectively fight for yourself.

Jurisdiction and laws of the state that issued the warrant, and the state you are being held in are a factor. All state laws differ in various ways, both in severity and kind. One example is laws against child enticement (asking or encouraging a child to engage in sexual behavior). In some states, these laws apply to anyone who engages in that conduct with a child in that state, even if the conversation occurs online.

So a man in any state who chats online with a child in Tennessee, and asks that child to meet him for sexual activity, could be charged in Tennessee. This can occur even if the man never goes to Tennessee and never actually meets the child. Your local criminal attorney can navigate these kinds of complex situations so that it can hopefully be mitigated for you.

In most misdemeanor cases (crimes punishable by up to a year in jail), most states will allow you to hire a local criminal attorney to handle the case in the state you are in. Here, you may not even have to appear in court, and the whole matter can be solved locally.

For most felony crimes, most states will require that an out-of-state defendant post bail. This is an expensive and possibly time-consuming process. If you have committed a crime in one state, and then left the state, your entire bail may be forfeited if you are held on an out-of-state warrant. This adds to the legal problem enormously.

In summary, being held on an out-of-state warrant is a complex legal matter which may have many contingencies. The best thing for you to do is consult with a criminal defense attorney to help you and your family. You need to get the proper legal representation to help you face this legal challenge and to help you get on with your life.