Will Nebraska Extradite Me?

Interstate 80, which runs from east to west across the United States, has long been a well-traveled route for illegal drugs making their way up from Central and South America. Consequently, it is not unusual for residents of other states to be stopped and arrested for drug-related offenses in Nebraska. If you were arrested in Nebraska, made bond, and then failed to return for a court appearance, you likely have an outstanding warrant for your arrest. If so, you are probably worried about the likelihood that Nebraska will extradite you back to stand trial. An I-80 drug stop lawyer at Petersen Law Office explains the legalities of extradition and discusses some of the factors that go into the decision to extradite.

What Is Extradition?
Extradition is the removal of a person from a requested state to a requesting state for criminal prosecution or punishment. Put differently, to extradite is to surrender, or obtain surrender of, a fugitive from one jurisdiction to another. For example, imagine that you have an outstanding arrest warrant in the State of Nebraska and you are arrested in another state. The State of Nebraska has the right to extradite you to Nebraska, meaning they have the right to arrange for you to be transported back to Nebraska to address your arrest warrant. Whether or not they actually exercise that right is a different question.

Nebraska Extradition Laws
In the State of Nebraska, extradition is governed by Nebraska Revised Statute 29-730 et seq. which sets forth the legal authority by which an individual can be held by the State of Nebraska and ultimately surrendered to another state, as well as the legal authority by which a fugitive from Nebraska may be extradited back to Nebraska to stand trial or serve a sentence. Specifically, the authority under which you might be extradited back to Nebraska is found in Nebraska Revised Statute 29-751 which reads, in pertinent part, as follows:

(1) When the return to this state of a person charged with crime in this state is required, the prosecuting attorney shall present to the Governor a written application for a requisition for the return of the person charged in which application shall be stated the name of the person so charged, the crime charged against him or her, the approximate time, place, and circumstances of its commission, the state in which he or she is believed to be, including the location of the accused therein at the time the application is made and certifying that, in the opinion of the said prosecuting attorney the ends of justice require the arrest and return of the accused to this state for trial and that the proceeding is not instituted to enforce a private claim.

Does Nebraska Always Extradite A Fugitive?
If you are currently a fugitive from Nebraska, the most important question you have is whether or not Nebraska will exercise its right to extradite you. Just because a state can extradite a fugitive doesn’t mean it will do so. The decision to extradite is made on a case by case basis, usually taking two primary factors into consideration — how bad the state wants you back and whether the state has the available resources.

The reality is that not all fugitives are the same. How badly a state wants to extradite you, therefore, depends on the severity of the crime involved to a great extent. It is unusual for a state to extradite someone for a misdemeanor; however, even lower level felonies may not be considered serious enough to extradite, particularly if they are non-violent felonies. On the other hand, if you are charged with a serious felony and/or the charges involve injuries to a victim, it is more likely that the state will want to extradite.

From a pragmatic point of view, the cost of extraditing a fugitive must also be taken into consideration. The closer the distance between states is, the more likely it is that you will be extradited, as a general rule. As you can well imagine, sending law enforcement officers from Nebraska to Kansas to extradite a fugitive is considerably more cost-effective than sending those same officers all the way to Florida or Maine.

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