Suspected fugitives who flee to Nevada may be transferred (or "extradited") to the state where they are facing criminal charges.
Nevada police are obligated to arrest fugitives from other states and then to return them to those states through a process called "extradition." Extradition is very complicated, and often the suspected fugitives are unaware of all their rights. But it may be possible for the person to be released on bail and even avoid extradition altogether.
This article explains how extradition from Nevada works. For information about extradition to Nevada where suspects in other states are called back to Nevada for alleged crimes committed here, go to our article on extradition to Nevada.
What is extradition from Nevada?
Extradition from Nevada is the process where Nevada authorities arrest someone in Nevada and then surrenders that person to another state to answer criminal charges in that state. For example,
John commits burglary in California and flees to Nevada. Extradition is the process where Nevada police can arrest John in Nevada even though the burglary took place in California. And if the extradition goes through, John will be transferred from Nevada back to California to face burglary charges (as well as fugitive charges).
The following types of fugitives may be extradited from Nevada to the state where their alleged criminal activity occurred:
- People who commit a crime in another state and then flee while the case is still pending, or
- People who escape from jail or prison in another state, or
- People who violate bail in another state, or
- People violate parole or probation in another state, or
- People who move or travel to Nevada and honestly have no idea there is a warrant for their arrest in another state. Often these people do not realize they are wanted until they get pulled over for a traffic stop and the cop runs a "wants and warrants check" on them.
Note that the majority of states including Nevada have adopted the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act ("UCEA"), governing the laws and procedures for extradition. Nevada codified the UCEA under Nevada Revised Statutes 179.
Can Nevada police arrest people in Nevada for crimes committed elsewhere?
Yes, but authorities from both Nevada and the other state must follow proper extradition procedures for the extradition to be legitimate. Note that extradition cases in Las Vegas are handled by the Clark County District Attorney's "Q Cases Unit."
How does "extradition from Nevada" work in Las Vegas?
The state where the suspected fugitive is wanted (called the "home" or "demanding" state) gives Nevada (the "asylum" state) an affidavit, judgment or indictment that charges the suspect with a crime. Then the Nevada governor issues a "Governor's Warrant" on that suspect. The Nevada police usually then have 60 days to arrest the suspected fugitive.
Once Nevada police arrest the suspected fugitive, he/she has one of two choices:
- waive formal extradition and agree to be transferred back to the home state, or
- deny the allegations and demand an extradition hearing to protest being transferred back to the home state
If the person waives extradition and agrees to go back to the home state, the Nevada fugitive charges will typically be dismissed. However, the person will usually face an added criminal charge in the home state for being a "fugitive from justice."
But if the person wants to stay in Nevada and fight extradition, he/she will have a court hearing which is similar to a trial. The D.A. will argue for extradition, and the person's defense attorneys will argue against it.
Can someone facing extradition from Nevada be released on bail pending whether the extradition goes through?
Suspected fugitives arrested in Nevada are typically held without bail. But depending on the circumstances a good criminal defense attorney may still be able to persuade the judge to release the suspect on bail or on his/her own recognizance.
Can a suspected fugitive be arrested in Nevada without a Governor's Warrant issuing first?
Yes, if the police reasonably believe that the person faces felony charges in another state.
How long can a suspected fugitive be held in Nevada before being extradited to another state?
The general rule is that suspected fugitives may not be held in custody for more than thirty (30) days in Nevada. If by that point the suspect has not been legally extradited to the other state, the judge will release the suspect barring unforeseen or other circumstances.
What happens if a suspected fugitive from another state also faces unrelated criminal charges in Nevada?
When someone who is wanted in another state is also facing charges in Nevada, the Nevada Governor may decide whether to surrender the person to the other state first or to keep him/her in Nevada until the local case is resolved.
How does a suspected fugitive fight extradition from Nevada?
Extradition cases are different from ordinary criminal cases where the D.A. has the burden to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. With extradition, the D.A. has no burden of proof because the guilt or innocence of the suspected fugitive is not the issue. Consequently, defendants facing extradition typically defer to one or both of the following defenses:
- The extradition paperwork (such as the Nevada Governor's Warrant or the charging documents from the demanding state) has fatal flaws that invalidate the extradition, and/or
- The police arrested the wrong person. In other words, the defendant is not the person that the demanding state is after.
In addition, the defendant may also contest the legality of arrest through a "writ of habeas corpus." This is a complicated legal procedure that a good defense attorney should be experienced in.
Call a lawyer . . . .
If you are facing extradition from Nevada, call Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). They may be able to get you out on bail and resolve the issue without you having to leave Nevada.
For information about California Extradition Laws, go to our informational webpage on California Extradition Laws.