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What Happens When You Face Out-of-State Charges?

Posted in Criminal Defense on June 28, 2019

Facing criminal charges in your home state is frightening enough; when you receive out-of-state charges, you can be even more confused as to your rights and legal options. Out-of-state charges will mean the state in which the alleged crime happened has the right to prosecute you for the offense. This can result in major logistical problems, such as having to pay for flights back and forth between two different states. It is important to find the right local criminal defense attorney to help you deal with out-of-state charges.

Out-of-State Prosecution Jurisdiction

Committing a crime in another state does not mean the charges will disappear once you return home. Instead, it means a more complex criminal law process. The state in which the crime allegedly occurred will have jurisdiction to try your case. This means that state’s prosecutors will have the right to file charges against you and force you to appear in court to face the accusations. You cannot escape out-of-state charges by moving away. In fact, this could make things more difficult for you, as you will have to travel back and forth to attend hearings.

Minor Criminal Charges

If the out-of-state charges you face are regarding a minor crime, such as an infraction or misdemeanor, you can typically stay in your home state and have an attorney appear at the arraignment or hearing on your behalf. Your lawyer will appear in court and defend your rights and best interests during all legal proceedings. You will not have to appear in the out-of-state court, but you will have to obey any sentence the court imposes. Your lawyer will act as your representative and envoy with the out-of-state court during the legal process.

Major Criminal Charges

You will have to appear in court for more cases involving more serious crimes, such as felony offenses. The court prosecuting your case has the right to demand your appearance before a judge to answer to the charges. In these situations, you will typically have to pay out-of-pocket to travel to the state to attend your court hearings. If the state is pressing charges, police may place you under arrest in the state that has jurisdiction. You may then have to post bail if you do not wish to remain in confinement until your hearing.

Terms of Bail

The courts often set bail higher for defendants who live out of state due to an increased flight risk. Most judges will see living out of state as a greater probability of the defendant skipping town, returning home, and ignoring the charges against him or her. This can inspire the courts to impose a higher bail amount. If you do get out on bail, you are free to return to your home state. However, you must appear back in the out-of-state courtroom at your appointed date and time. If you miss your court date, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest.

Dealing With Out-of-State Charges

It is important to obtain legal representation when facing out-of-state criminal charges. You must hire an attorney with license to practice in the state where you are facing the charges. An attorney from your home state may not have license to practice criminal defense where the actual court hearings will take place. If you cannot afford an attorney for a serious charge, the courts in the presiding state will appoint a public defender.