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Extradition to Texas

Texas Extradition Defense Attorney Upholds Clients’ Rights

Board-certified criminal defense lawyer in San Antonio assists on issues relating to the transfer of accused individuals

The U.S. Constitution requires states to apprehend and return fugitives from justice to the states where they allegedly committed an offense. This process is called extradition. In most cases, extradition is straightforward, but as the system has potential for abuse, the law allows alleged fugitives to contest extradition. Whether you are in Texas facing extradition to another state, or you are concerned about a loved one threatened with extradition to Texas, you need knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense representation. For more than 30 years, Kevin L. Collins, P.C. in San Antonio has fought to protect his clients’ due process rights.

The legal basis for extradition to or from Texas

Like many states, Texas has adopted the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act. UCEA requires that a requesting state, sometimes referred to as the “complaint state” must issue a demand for extradition that satisfied these requirements:

  • Be made in writing
  • Allege that the accused was present in the complaint state when the crime occurred and later fled from the state
  • Contain a copy of an indictment for the crime, or a copy of an affidavit presented to a magistrate with a copy of any warrant the magistrate issued, or a copy of a conviction together with an authorized statement that the person has violated terms of sentencing.

The person named can be arrested one of three ways:

  • Governor’s warrant — The governor of the asylum state reads the demand and approves, thus issuing an order for arrest. 
  • Magistrate’s warrant — The complaint state can submit the demand to a judge magistrate in the asylum state who can issue a warrant.
  • Warrantless arrest — A person who believes, based on “reasonable information,” that the accused has been charged in another state with a crime punishable by at least one year in prison can make an arrest.

Depending on the circumstances, authorities in the asylum state can hold the alleged fugitive for 30 to 60 days and beyond, ahead of a trial on the extradition. In some cases, the accused can be set free on bail. However, bail is not allowed if the offense is punishable by death or life imprisonment in the complaint state.

Grounds for challenging extradition

Persons facing extradition have the right to challenge the process with a writ of habeus corpus. Grounds for opposing extradition include the following: 

  • Mistaken identity — The accused can offer proof they are not the person named in the warrant or could not have committed the crime because they were not in the complaint state at the specified time.
  • Fugitive status — The accused can argue that they are not a fugitive from justice. This applies, for example, when a person out on bail or parole leaves a jurisdiction but has a lawful reason for doing so. 
  • Procedural defect — If the complaint state has not followed the law in making its demand, the asylum state can refuse to honor the demand. However, in practice, complaint states are usually offered opportunities to cure any defects.

It is rare for one state to deny another’s request for extradition, however these cases can be very complex, so if you or a loved one are considering a challenge to an extradition request, you should speak to a qualified lawyer immediately. 

Reasons to waive extradition proceedings

When an alleged fugitive is sought or apprehended in another state, it might be best to waive the extradition process and negotiate a voluntary return and surrender in the complaint state. This can counter any attempt by the prosecution to use flight as evidence of guilt in your trial. But no matter how you wish to handle extradition, you need capable representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Contact a Board-certified criminal defense attorney to discuss a Texas extradition

Kevin L. Collins, P.C. in San Antonio provides staunch representation for clients facing extradition from and into Texas. To schedule a consultation with Board-certified criminal law attorney Kevin L. Collins, call 210-598-8629 or contact the office online

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We are here to help and support you through these generally challenging times with your specific legal issues. You will be able to reach me or my staff through our main telephone numbers, and of course by email: [email protected]. Phone conferences for existing and potential clients are available, as is the video conference feature through the Zoom app. Zoom may present some privacy challenges so phone conferences are preferred. Please take care of your health by following the measures recommended by the CDC, and by state and local authorities.
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