Late last month, a 19-year-old man was arrested in Florida for his alleged role in the March killing of a convenience store clerk in Murray. Roughly one week later, two men were arrested in Colorado for the alleged kidnapping, forgery, and exploitation of a vulnerable adult in South Salt Lake. All three of these alleged offenders were awaiting extradition to Utah after being taken into custody.
While the nature of these crimes garnered media attention, people should understand that alleged out of state offenders facing many other types of more common criminal charges in Utah are also extradited to the Beehive State when they are apprehended in other states. People who may be visiting the Salt Lake City area on vacation, business, or traveling through the state for other reasons cannot assume that arrests for offenses such as driving under the influence (DUI) or possession of a controlled substance will just be forgotten and languish in Utah courts.
If you have been arrested in the greater Salt Lake City area while visiting from another state, here are five things you should know about the charges you face:
- Arrest warrants issued in Utah are valid in other states — While a criminal case can only be tried within the jurisdiction that the offense occurred, a bench warrant that is issued following your failure to appear can lead to you being arrested by any law enforcement agency that learns of the warrant. This means that if you pulled over for a minor traffic infraction in your state of residence, a police officer could take you into custody based solely on that Utah warrant.
- Extradition applies in all 50 states — As stated above, people whom the state of Utah deem fugitives from justice can be extradited from other states to face punishment in the Beehive State. Title 18 United States Code § 3182 requires all states to deliver fugitives from justice for any crimes to the states from which they fled.
- There is no statute of limitations — Do not think that if you stay out of trouble in your home state for a certain number of year that the criminal charges will just go away. Utah Code § 76-1-304(1) plainly states, “The period of limitation does not run against any defendant during any period of time in which the defendant is out of the state following the commission of an offense.”
- A bounty hunter could be looking for you — If you were released from prison through a bail bond company and failed to appear in court, then the bail bond company is usually on the hook for a large sum of money. These companies typically employ licenses bail enforcement agents (commonly referred to as “bounty hunters”) to locate and apprehend people who have jumped bail. There may be limitations on what these agents can do depending on the state that you live in, but they can generally enter your property without a warrant if they feel that you are a flight risk and rest assured that they certainly have the financial incentive to bring you to justice.
- Hiring a Utah attorney can easily help you avoid all of these troubles — Many people fail to appear in court simply because they believe their residence in another state excuses their absence. While not living in Utah can indeed make the prospect of repeated court appearances quite a hassle, these appearances are not always necessary. A Salt Lake City criminal lawyer can appear on your behalf and possibly resolve your case without you having to arrange any flight tickets.