Posted On: June 6, 2008 by Brian G. Thompson

Maryland Criminal Attorney on Extradition

Maryland Criminal Attorney - Maryland Criminal Lawyer - Baltimore Criminal Attorney - Baltimore Criminal Lawyer - There is an interesting case in the Baltimore Sun today that brings up a topic that I deal with regulary that almost no one, including most attorneys really undestands - extradition. An experienced Maryland criminal attorney should be well versed in the laws and procedures involved in extradition, which is the legal process by which someone who is wanted in a particular state is brought back to that state when they are captured in another.

Unfortunately, as I said, most lawyers are not well versed in extradition law. Not only that, but more often than not people wait until it is too late to consult an attorney. When a person is captured in a state other than the one in which he or she is wanted, that person will be held on what is called a fugitive warrant. The person will brought in front of a judge or a magistrate, usually within 24 hours of his or her arrest. At this hearing, the person will be told that he or she is wanted in another state, in this example Maryland, and asked if he wishes to challenge or waive his extradition to Maryland. It is critical that a defendant or his or her family contact an experienced criminal attorney prior to this hearing because if the wrong decision is made, the person may not be entitled to bail. In Maryland if a person waives his extradition then he is not eligible for bail. It seems counterintuitive but if a defendant in Maryland elects to challenge his extradition, then he is eligible for bail. Bail is granted frequently particularly when the offense is a relatively minor and non-violent one. If the defendant is granted bail then he has the option of returning to the state in which he is wanted to turn himself in, thereby avoiding the entire extradition process. This is significant because extradition, even when it is waived can take up to 10 days or even 2 weeks during which time the person is held in the local jail or detention center without bail. In many cases the person unecessarily spends this time in jail for a case in which he is unlikely to be incarcerated, even if he is ultimately convicted. Most States have similar procedures and rules concerning extradition and if and under what circumstances the person is entitled to bail, but there are differences. That is why it is crucial to consult with an experienced criminal attorney prior to the initial fugitive hearing at which a defendant will be asked to make the decision as to whether to waive or challenge extradition.

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