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Does New Mexico Extradite for Misdemeanors?


If you have a misdemeanor charge or you are currently on probation for a misdemeanor, you might wonder if you could leave the state and whether New Mexico would pay to extradite you back. No one with a pending criminal conviction or amidst probation should leave the state as any defense attorney would not advise it. However, determining whether the state would extradite you is more complicated than yes or no answers. Instead, it comes down to the reasons for you leaving the state, the type of misdemeanor offense, and the judge who issues the warrant.

Instead of leaving the state to avoid a conviction or to avoid dealing with probation, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney. Leaving the state can result in serious consequences. And even if the state does not extradite you, if you were arrested in another state, you could face harsher penalties and still get sent back to New Mexico for any jail sentences still owed. Therefore, do not assume leaving the state wipes the slate clean or that you would never serve a day in jail in New Mexico.

What Is Extradition?

Extradition laws in the United States are federal and state based, and the laws vary depending on intrastate and interstate extraditions, too. However, the process involves one state surrendering a party to another state for completion of a trial, punishment, or rehabilitation program.

Three states in the U.S. do not extradite for a misdemeanor convicted in the U.S., including Florida, Hawaii, and Alaska.

However, some crimes are excluded from these laws and states that typically would not extradite will do so for these exceptions, such as violent crimes, sexual offenses, crimes against minors, and drunken driving. Also, kidnapping by one parent can be considered an exception in some instances, meaning one state would arrest that parent and return them to their original state for prosecution.

Interstate extraditions are those where one state in the U.S. requests that another U.S. state or territory deliver a party back to their state.

To demand the return of one party from one state to another, the following must occur:

  • The requesting state must have jurisdiction over the crime that was allegedly committed;
  • The requesting state must supply an indictment or affidavit charging the party with the crime;
  • The requesting state must require that the individual be arrested and then be willing to receive the party upon arrest;
  • The requesting state must have an agent who appears in the arresting state to receive the prisoner and return them to the state where they will attend a trial.

To Start an Extradition, the Judge Must Issue a Bench Warrant

Whether you are on probation or you have a pending court date for your misdemeanor, if you fail to comply with probation or fail to appear in court, the judge overseeing the case will issue a bench warrant.

Depending on what the judge issues in that bench warrant will determine if you are extradited back into New Mexico. For example, if your misdemeanor were for domestic violence, most likely the issuing judge would request extradition. Even if the judge does not know which state you are in, once that bench warrant is issued, if you were arrested or even pulled over in another state and they find that warrant, you will be arrested and returned to New Mexico.

You Are Likely to Face Harsher Penalties

If New Mexico goes through the process of extraditing you into the state for your failure to comply with probation or failure to appear in court, the consequences are severe.

Failure to Comply with Probation Consequences upon Extradition

Not only would you finish the remainder of your probation in jail, but the state may request that your probation period start over. For example, you may have had one-year probation but you fled the state at month three. Now, the state requests that you remain incarcerated and your one-year probation restarted.

Likewise, you could be charged with other criminal acts on top of failing to comply with your probation, which will only further extend how long you remain in jail.

Failure to Appear in Court Consequences upon Extradition

When you fail to appear in court in New Mexico, whether it is for an arraignment, trial, hearing, or sentencing, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The state will charge you with a failure to appear upon arrest or extradition as well.

Also, a failure to appear for misdemeanor charges is a petty misdemeanor charge. So, on top of the potential jail time and fines for the misdemeanor you were charged with initially, you are now also facing up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500 for failing to appear.

A failure to appear can dramatically impact whether you are released in the future and the conditions of that release. Also, a failure to appear conviction, even if you are not convicted of that initial misdemeanor, will show up on your criminal record – which impacts you the rest of your life.

Will New Mexico Send Me Back to Another State?

Yes, New Mexico will extradite a defendant if another state requests it or if law enforcement arrests a party with an outstanding warrant – even for a misdemeanor offense from another state.

Avoid the Consequences of a Bench Warrant and Talk with a Defense Attorney

The long-term consequences of a bench warrant for failing to comply with probation or failing to appear in court are not worth the risk. Not only are you guaranteeing jail time and a criminal record, but you could spend longer in jail than you would have if you appeared in court or complied with your probation.

Leaving the state is never the answer. Instead, you need to speak with a defense attorney who can work toward a favorable outcome in your pending case or assist you with issues regarding your current probation.

Talk with an attorney from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices now at 505-200-2982 or request your free case evaluation by contacting us online.