Extradition is when one state works with another to return a fugitive to answer for charges. A person may have been charged with a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense but left before a trial. Other times, a person may have been convicted and flees before serving jail time. To what extent can a person hide in another state if they failed to answer charges for a DUI offense in Colorado?
Below, we’ll explore that issue. For the most part, the answer will depend on the specific circumstance of the case. If you are wanted in Colorado and live outside the state, contacting an experienced defense attorney to discuss your legal rights is crucial.
What is Extradition?
Extradition is the legal process when one state interacts with another state to return a fugitive to answer pending charges.
The Uniform Criminal Extradition Act outlines the procedure that a state must follow in order to arrest a fugitive in another state and return them. However, even if a person is wanted in Colorado and escapes to another state, they still have rights. Therefore, Colorado must comply with specific procedures to ensure that a fugitive’s rights aren’t violated.
Colorado must adhere the following procedures:
- Colorado files a request stating the alleged crime committed to the state where the fugitive is located, known as the asylum state.
- The governor where the fugitive is located investigates Colorado’s allegations.
- The governor of where the fugitive is physically located signs a governor’s warrant.
- Law enforcement arrests the fugitive.
- Once in custody, the offender has two options. They can either contest the extradition, in which case the asylum state must hold a hearing to listen to evidence. Or, the fugitive can waive their rights, alleviating the need for a hearing.
- The fugitive is transported to Colorado.
Colorado Extradites for Certain Crimes
Extradition is a lengthy and expensive process. Colorado has the authority to pursue extradition for any fugitive, including DUI. However, it lacks the resources. Considering that a first-time DUI offense is only a misdemeanor and carries a nine-month driver’s license revocation and up to two years’ probation, it’s unlikely that Colorado would expend its limited resources. Generally, Colorado reserves its extradition abilities for people suspected of serious crimes, like murder, drug trafficking, or other violent crimes.
That doesn’t mean that Colorado will never extradite for a DUI offense. Many factors go into deciding which particular case merits extradition. For example, it could be the person’s fourth DUI, which qualifies as a felony offense. A Felony DUI carries two-to-six years in state prison and hefty fines. Or the state could have a particular interest for numerous reasons.
Obtaining a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are wanted for DUI in Colorado but physically located in another state, the lawyers at the Moorhead Law Group can protect your rights. Extradition can be a long process that may result in the loss of liberty. Contact our office at 303-586-6912 or online.