If a person is out of the country when an arrest warrant is issued for them, what action will police/court take?

UPDATED: May 1, 2011

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If a person is out of the country when an arrest warrant is issued for them, what action will police/court take?

My friend is traveling overseas for extended period. There is a possibility that false criminal charges of child molestation may be filed against him. If the police has an arrest warrant for him, while he is out of the country, what happens? Will they wait until he returns to arrest him (say after few months) or can they take any action that can force him to return immediately? Should he speak with a criminal law attorney? In San Bernadino, County, CA.

Asked on May 1, 2011 under Criminal Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is highly unlikely that the police will seek to extradite your friend from where ever he is out of the country and bring him back to the United States.  I would, however, do exactly as you indicated in your question and have him speak with an attorney should the charges actually be filed. If they are filed then he will need someone to intercede for him while he is out of the country and to make sure that the police and the prosecutors know that he is not trying to avoid arrest but that this all came to light while he was already outside the country.  A fugitive he is not.  And he needs to make that oh so clear to everyone.  He needs a mouthpiece.  One with a degree. 

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