How Do Police Arrest Criminals Across State Lines?

Arresting someone poses many challenges to the police. In some cases, arrests can be carried out without problems, but there are times when a criminal may become difficult. Some struggle and refuse to go with the police, others may try to flee, and a few may turn to violence in a desperate attempt to avoid arrest. These are just some of the scenarios the police may encounter while apprehending someone, but what happens when the criminal has already fled even before the police get them, or when someone commits a crime across state lines?

Generally, police officers only have the power to arrest a criminal within their jurisdiction. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if a pursuit is taking place and the chase goes beyond state lines, authorities are allowed to arrest the suspect even beyond their jurisdiction if the criminal is accused of a felony (via Rosenstein Law Group). In other instances where a police officer witnesses a crime happening out of their jurisdiction, the officer can arrest a criminal through a citizen's arrest, but in cases like those, they are held civilly liable for their actions just like any private individual who does the same.

Out-of-state arrests

In cases of criminals going beyond the jurisdiction of the crime, police officers can make an arrest outside their jurisdiction if an agreement has been made with local law enforcement officials, according to Stronley Law. Making sure that there is a mutual agreement between officers of different jurisdictions is necessary to make an arrest legal. Law enforcement officials often work with each other to capture a criminal, as they have the common goal of apprehending the culprit. While state police officers can only arrest in their jurisdiction, federal law enforcement officers may arrest a criminal anywhere in the country.

Criminals may also be arrested across state lines, especially if they have committed a felony offense and have an out-of-state warrant, which gives police officers the authority to arrest a criminal regardless of the location, as noted by Shouse Law. Criminals are subjected to the rules of arrest and prosecution based on where the crime took place. The severity of the offense is also a contributing factor in the process for out-of-state arrests. Criminals with misdemeanors often face jail time or a fine, while dealing with felony crimes makes matters more complicated, especially if several jurisdictions are involved.

The process of extradition

If a warrant has been issued for the arrest, the criminal will be extradited back to the state where the crime had taken place to face the charges. As reported by Criminal Defense Lawyer, a formal request must be made to the state where the criminal was apprehended in order for the extradition to happen. According to World Population Review, all states allow extradition for felony offenses. However, three states — Hawaii, Florida, and Alaska — do not extradite criminals who only face charges of misdemeanors.

There are also instances wherein the defendant faces charges in two or more jurisdictions. In cases like those, all the states where a crime transpired can prosecute the accused. The rule of double jeopardy isn't applicable, as states have different laws and procedures when prosecuting. The defendant will be transferred from state to state to face the charges, per HG Legal Resources.