Extradition from Nevada is the process where law enforcement arrests you here in Nevada for being a fugitive of another state, and then holds you to be picked up and brought to that state to answer for the criminal charges. Extradition is a complex process because it requires interstate coordination between police agencies.
Here are five key things to know:
- Nevada can generally hold you in custody for 30 days before you must be extradited to the demanding state.
- In some cases, the judge may release you on bail in Nevada while you fight the extradition.
- Depending on the case, it may make sense to “waive extradition” and go back to the demanding state immediately.
- Because extradition is expensive, out-of-state police usually only pursue fugitives facing serious charges.
- Typical defenses to extradition are that the extradition documents are invalid or that you are the victim of mistaken identity.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What is extradition from Nevada?
- 2. Can police arrest me in Nevada for crimes committed elsewhere?
- 3. How does “extradition from Nevada” work?
- 4. Can I be released on bail pending whether the extradition goes through?
- 5. Can I be arrested without a Governor’s Warrant issuing first?
- 6. How long can I be held before being extradited?
- 7. What happens if I am also facing criminal charges in Nevada?
- 8. How do I fight extradition from Nevada?
- 9. Additional reading
See our related article on extradition to Nevada.
1. What is extradition from Nevada?
Extradition from Nevada is the process where authorities arrest you in Nevada and then surrender you 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 police can arrest John in Nevada even though the burglary took place in California. If the extradition goes through, John will be transferred 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 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 police officer runs a “warrant 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 NRS 179.1
2. Can police arrest me in Nevada for crimes committed elsewhere?
Yes, but authorities from both states 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.”
3. How does “extradition from Nevada” work?
The state where you are wanted (called the “home state” or “demanding state”) gives Nevada (the “asylum state” or “arresting state”) an affidavit, judgment or indictment that charges you with a crime. Then the Nevada governor issues a “Governor’s Warrant” on you.
The Nevada police usually then have 60 days to arrest you. Once you are apprehended, you have 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 you waive extradition and agree to go back to the home state, the Nevada fugitive charges will typically be dismissed. However, you will usually face an added criminal charge in the home state for being a “fugitive from justice.”
If you want to stay here and fight extradition, you will have a court hearing which is similar to a trial where you can argue against extradition.2
4. Can I be released on bail pending whether the extradition goes through?
Suspected fugitives arrested in Nevada are typically held without bail. Depending on the circumstances, we may still be able to persuade the judge to release you on bail or on your own recognizance.3
5. Can I be arrested without a Governor’s Warrant issuing first?
Yes. Police can arrest you in Nevada without a Governor’s Warrant if they reasonably believe that you are facing felony charges in another state.4
6. How long can I be held before being extradited?
The general rule is that suspected fugitives may not be held in custody for more than 30 days in Nevada. If by that point you have not been legally extradited to the other state, the judge will release you barring unforeseen or other circumstances.5
7. What happens if I am also facing criminal charges in Nevada?
If you are wanted in another state and are also facing charges in Nevada, the Nevada Governor may decide whether to:
- surrender you to the other state first or
- keep you here until the local case is resolved.6
8. How do I fight extradition from Nevada?
Extradition cases are different from ordinary criminal cases where the D.A. has the burden to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. With extradition, the D.A. has no burden of proof because your guilt or innocence is not the issue.
Consequently, you will 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, you are not the person that the demanding state is after.
In addition, you may also contest the legality of arrest through a “writ of habeas corpus.”
9. Additional reading
For more information on extradition laws, refer to these articles:
- U.S. Constitution Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2 (“Extradition Clause”) – Constitution Annotated
- Definition of Extradition – Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision
- Interstate Agreement on Detainers – Criminal Resource Manual 543(E)