Where warrants are serious business, fugitive warrants are even more challenging to deal with. After all, the warrant authorizes law enforcement officers to detain the defendant and begin the extradition. Then, they return them to the state where the fugitive warrant was issued to face charges.
However, is there a way out? We’ll answer that question and help you understand how to maneuver this situation in the best way.
Lifting Fugitive Warrants
If you want to get a fugitive warrant lifted, a quality attorney can help you decide on your best options, according to the originator of your warrant.
For example, they might help you schedule a court hearing to address the issue or advise you to surrender to the authorities, which should lift the warrant automatically. Fugitive safe surrenders may be an option, ensuring you get fair treatment.
In addition, such initiatives portray you as a responsible person and are likely to come with some favorable considerations.
About Fugitive Warrants
Also called a fugitive from justice warrant, this warrant is a type of arrest warrant that authorizes the arrest of a fugitive.
Also referred to as a suspect, a wanted person, a person at large, or a person of interest, the fugitive knowingly flees a state or country to avoid facing charges, arrest, jail, prosecution, and other punishments.
Fugitive vs. Regular Arrest Warrants
Before we explain the difference, we need to go over some terms. For one, the state where the fugitive is charged with the crime is known as the “Requesting State,” “Demanding State,” or “Home State.” And the one the defendant flees to is called the “Asylum State.”
Fugitive warrants are different from regular arrest warrants because they work between two independent law enforcement agencies or jurisdictions (the one in the Requesting state and the one in the Asylum state.
What happens when a defendant leaves the state to evade prosecution? This is where the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) comes into play. This database (run by the FBI) includes reported crimes, criminal histories, active warrants, statistics, and driver’s license and vehicle registration details.
Accordingly, law enforcement agencies all over the U.S can use it to report individuals and get information, which is how they can access a fugitive warrant.
With an outstanding Governor’s warrant, an extradition hearing takes place at a court of law. There, the judge verifies the validity of the extradition request and paperwork. And the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA) gives the Asylum state the right to turn over the defendant to the Demanding state to face charges (with some regulations).
To illustrate, if the Requesting state wants the Asylum state to hand over the fugitive, it needs to file a fugitive warrant in 60 days, which can be extended to 90 days. Also, the state’s Governor must sign it. Otherwise, the Asylum state can dismiss the case and let the fugitive go.
As you’d expect, extradition needs a solid budget and a lot of people, rendering the process expensive. So, law enforcement agencies reserve them for serious charges and second-degree assaults, such as sexual assault, murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment, robbery, motor vehicle theft, disorderly conduct, DUI, and gang activity.
How to Handle Fugitive Warrants
Now that we’ve covered what they are and how they work, let’s move on to fugitives’ options. Of course, the goal is to lift a warrant, which means it’s entirely cleared from the system.
Hiring an Attorney
A way to go about a fugitive warrant is to contact an attorney and get their advice. They’ll tell the fugitive about their options, which may differ according to the originator of the warrant. Additionally, they can help the defendant understand their likelihood of being detained, their options, and the trial proceedings.
Contacting a lawyer is a good idea for those who can make that investment. But there’s no guarantee that they’ll get a fugitive warrant lifted. So, they need to make sure the attorney knows State and Federal law and has experience representing clients so that they can help them avoid prosecution or help them with their escape plan.
A fugitive has the right to turn themselves in at a local sheriff’s office, police station, or state police headquarters, which is known as surrendering to the warrant. Surrendering will likely paint them in a good light before the judge and law enforcement authorities. After all, it’s an initiative to take responsibility.
Then, law enforcement officers will take them into custody and book and fingerprint them. Although some people can be released with a pre-approved bail, most states don’t authorize bails during expeditions.
Instead, what happens is that the Requesting state’s jurisdiction goes to pick up their fugitive. However, the good news is that this surrender should automatically lift the fugitive warrant.
Fugitive Safe Surrender
This is an option in some countries and cities that are part of the fugitive surrender program. Thanks to this program, fugitives can surrender at different participating sites (like community-based churches). The choice of a faith-based setting can provide fugitives with the needed assurance that they’ll be fairly treated.
Additionally, safe surrenders grant them “favorable considerations” from the court and prosecuting agency. This option is valid for four days after the warrant is issued. Otherwise, law enforcement officers can track them down and arrest them.
Speaking of favorable considerations, let us give you an example of what that might look like. The state issued a promise in their fugitive safe surrender campaign in the District of Columbia.
The promise was to let participants go home the same day with a court date or get their charges adjudicated instantly. The exception is if they’re violent offenders, in which case they’ll be held for trial.
One option is to reach out to a court and attempt to schedule an appearance. We recommend having your attorney attend this hearing if you have access to one. Then, you can address your issue and explain the reason for your actions. Of course, there are numerous outcomes to this decision, depending on each case.
However, taking this initiative displays a responsible attitude, which can help you with any bond hearings. It can also get the warrant recalled. Otherwise, the court might request that you go to the law enforcement agency to turn yourself in or make an appearance.
The warrant gets retired, and the case is closed if there’s proof of death. We aren’t suggesting a fugitive should fake their death; the right choice is to take responsibility for their actions. But as we’re on the topic of lifting warrants, we had to mention death as a potential cause for it.
Ultimately, getting a fugitive warrant lifted isn’t easy, but it’s quite possible. The goal is to portray the fugitive as a responsible individual, and they can do that by turning themselves in, requesting a court date, or else. Of course, if the defendant has access to an attorney, they can help them understand their options and their likelihood of getting their warrant lifted.