NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 6th October 2023, 11:46 pm
Extradition Defense Lawyers: Your Guide to Fighting Extradition
So you got yourself into some legal trouble, and now the government wants to extradite you to face charges. I get it — this whole situation is scary. Believe me, I know what you’re going through. But don’t panic! There are things you can do to fight extradition. This article will walk you through the basics so you can understand the process and start building your defense strategy.
What is Extradition?
Extradition is when one country transfers someone accused or convicted of a crime to another country for prosecution or punishment. It happens through treaties between countries that outline the terms for transferring fugitives. For example, if you commit a crime in the U.S. and flee to Canada, the U.S. can request that Canada extradite you back to face charges. The countries will cooperate through an extradition treaty.
Why Do Countries Extradite People?
Extradition is one of the main ways that countries cooperate to fight crime. It helps ensure that people who break the law don’t get away with it by hiding in another country. Extradition treaties build trust between nations and show that they are united against criminals evading justice.
What’s the Extradition Process?
The country requesting extradition starts by sending a formal request to the other country where the person is located. This includes evidence of the person’s guilt, like affidavits describing the crime. The requested country reviews the request and decides whether to arrest the person. There’s usually a hearing where the person can argue against being extradited. If the requested country agrees, they will transfer custody of the person to law enforcement agents from the requesting country. Then the agents transport the fugitive back to face charges.
Common Defenses Against Extradition
Fighting extradition is complicated, but possible with the right defense. Here are some common arguments lawyers make:
- Dual criminality – The alleged crime must be illegal in both countries to qualify for extradition. If it’s not a crime where you’re located, you may avoid extradition.
- Political offense – Many treaties bar extradition for political crimes or persecution. Your lawyer can argue the charges are politically motivated.
- Human rights violations – Most countries won’t extradite if it risks human rights abuses like the death penalty or torture.
- Statute of limitations – If too much time has passed since the alleged crime, the statute of limitations may have expired.
- Invalid extradition request – The request and supporting documents may have procedural flaws your lawyer can challenge.
- Mistaken identity – You can assert that you are not the person wanted for extradition.
Finding an Extradition Defense Lawyer
Don’t go through this alone — get an experienced lawyer on your side! Look for attorneys with specific expertise in international extradition cases. Key things to ask:
- Do you have experience defending extradition cases under my applicable treaty?
- Are you familiar with the courts and laws in the requesting country?
- Will you aggressively challenge procedural flaws and advocate for my rights?
- Can you negotiate with prosecutors for a favorable resolution?
A knowledgeable lawyer can poke holes in the case against you and highlight any violations of law or treaty obligations. They may also negotiate with the requesting country to drop or reduce charges to avoid extradition.
How Lawyers Defend Extradition Cases
Once hired, your lawyer will start reviewing the charges and extradition request to identify potential defenses. Some actions they commonly take:
- File habeas corpus petitions alleging unlawful detention.
- Gather exonerating evidence and witnesses.
- Retain expert witnesses to discredit government’s evidence.
- Challenge credibility of demanding country’s affidavits.
- Contest inconsistencies or omissions in extradition request.
- Argue for release on bail while contesting extradition.
- Negotiate for transfer or dismissal of charges.
Your lawyer’s aim is to prevent the extradition entirely or at least buy time to build your case. They may be able to get charges reduced to crimes not covered by the treaty.
What Happens If Extradition Succeeds?
If the court approves extradition despite your lawyer’s efforts, you’ll be transferred to custody in the requesting country. Your lawyer can help ensure proper procedures are followed:
- Guarantee humane treatment and safe transport
- Make sure extradition is for the agreed charges only
- Get court order recognizing time served while contesting extradition
- Transfer any seized evidence to be used in your defense
- Negotiate for credit for time served if convicted
While not ideal, getting extradited with your rights protected gives you a stronger case going forward. An attorney may be able to get charges dismissed or reduced once you are in the requesting country.
Don’t Give Up Hope!
Being arrested for extradition is scary, but you have rights. With an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you can avoid extradition entirely or at least be extradited safely and minimize consequences. Don’t take on this fight alone. Contact a lawyer today to start building your defense!