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Colorado Misdemeanor Extradition: Likely or Not?

You can potentially be extradited back to Colorado for a misdemeanor. While extradition is more common for felony charges, Colorado can request extradition for serious misdemeanors or repeated offenses. The decision to extradite depends on the specific circumstances and the discretion of the authorities.
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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

According to FindLaw, fleeing to another state does not guarantee evasion of punishment for alleged crimes. Both state and federal governments utilize extradition laws to ensure that offenders face justice. Extradition allows one state to surrender an individual to another state for criminal prosecution [1].

Types of Extradition

  • Interstate Extradition: Between two states within the U.S.
  • International Extradition: Between two countries, with more complex procedures due to international relations.

Federal law governs interstate extradition in the U.S. The Extradition Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article IV, Section 2) mandates that:

A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime

Additionally, federal law (18 U.S.C § 3182) outlines specific extradition requirements. The Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA) provides further guidelines, although South Carolina and Missouri have their state laws that follow federal standards.

Interstate Extradition Process

Regardless of UCEA adoption, the extradition process typically follows these steps:

  • Issuing an Out-of-State Warrant: Initiated when there is probable cause, such as failure to attend a court date or fleeing after a crime.
  • Entering Information into NCIC: The National Crime Information Center database shares warrant details with law enforcement nationwide.
  • Arrest and Notification: If the asylum state arrests the fugitive, they notify the state that issued the warrant.
  • Request for Return (Requisition): The original state may request the fugitive’s return, but this is more common for felonies than misdemeanors.
  • Governor’s Warrant: If the governor of the original state decides to pursue extradition, they issue a governor’s warrant to the asylum state.
  • Extradition Hearing: The fugitive can waive extradition or challenge it via a writ of habeas corpus. If both governors approve, an extradition hearing is held.
  • Court Decision: The court in the asylum state decides on extradition. If granted, the demanding state arranges transport.

Constitutional Requirements

The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution ensures that the accused is informed about:

  • The extradition request
  • The underlying criminal charge
  • The right to legal counsel

Special Considerations

  • No Bail: If charged with a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment, bail is not permitted.
  • Bail Forfeiture: Failure to appear or surrender as per bond conditions results in immediate arrest.

This comprehensive process ensures that individuals cannot escape justice by crossing state lines, and maintaining the integrity of the legal system.

Understanding Misdemeanors: Definition, Punishments, and Classifications

According to LawCornell, a misdemeanor is a type of criminal offense that carries less severe penalties compared to felonies [2]. Typically, misdemeanors are punishable by less than 12 months in jail, with common penalties including community service, probation, fines, and short-term imprisonment. Felonies, on the other hand, involve more serious crimes and result in harsher punishments, such as imprisonment for over a year.

Many states categorize misdemeanors based on the severity of the crime and the corresponding punishment. If a misdemeanor is not assigned a specific letter grade, it is often classified as follows:

  • Class A: Maximum imprisonment of one year or less, but more than six months.
  • Class B: Maximum imprisonment of six months or less, but more than thirty days.
  • Class C: Maximum imprisonment of thirty days or less, but more than five days.

However, some states do not use this classification system and instead determine sentences on a case-by-case basis, considering the specific details and severity of each crime.

What is the Extradition Process from Another State Into Colorado?

According to SCLG, the process for extraditing a fugitive to Colorado involves several key steps [3]:

  1. Request Filing: Colorado submits a formal request to the asylum state, detailing the crime committed by the fugitive.
  2. Investigation: The governor of the asylum state initiates an investigation into the allegations.
  3. Governor’s Warrant: If the investigation supports the request, the governor of the asylum state signs a governor’s warrant.
  4. Arrest: Law enforcement in the asylum state arrests the fugitive if they are not already in custody.
  5. Extradition Hearing: The asylum state holds a hearing where the fugitive can contest the extradition unless they waive this right.
  6. Transportation Arrangements: Arrangements are made to transport the fugitive back to Colorado.
  7. Transfer: The fugitive is then transported to Colorado to face charges.

Colorado’s Approach to Extradition for Criminal Offenses

While Colorado has the authority to pursue fugitives for minor offenses, it typically focuses on extraditing individuals suspected of serious crimes such as murder, sexual assault, drug trafficking, and grand theft.

The high cost of the extradition process, which can range from $2,000 to $4,000 or more, often influences this decision.

However, Colorado may decide to extradite for lesser offenses under certain circumstances, particularly if the case has garnered media attention or has significant political implications.

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