How Long Can Someone Be Held in Jail Awaiting Extradition?


How long can someone be held in jail awaiting extradition? Under normal circumstances, a charged individual may be imprisoned for up to  30 days awaiting extradition. However, the duration of jail is subject to several factors. For instance, the defendant can stay longer depending on the pending charges. 

The Warren Law Group can shed light on the extradition process. We also highlight factors that can impact the duration one remains in jail.

An Overview of the Extradition Process

The process begins with an extradition request. The requesting country asks to have the fugitive extradited through diplomatic channels. As a rule, the requesting country must provide evidence of the person’s crime.

After lodging the request, legal proceedings take place in the requested country. The proceedings involve a hearing in court. During the hearing, the court weighs the evidence from the requesting country.

The court also considers arguments or objections from the individual’s lawyer. If the judge finds the evidence of guilt to be sufficient, the court orders the individual’s extradition. The process might take weeks or months, or even longer.

How Long Can Someone be Held in Jail Awaiting Extradition?

An individual can be held in jail for about 30 days. However, the 30-day timeframe is subject to change based on circumstances. Thus, a person can remain in prison for several months before extradition. Some of the factors that dictate the duration of jail include:

  • Extradition Clause

The extradition clause of the diplomatic treaty between the two countries determines the duration an individual remains in jail. An efficient extradition process reduces jurisdictional complexities, and correspondingly, jail time before a decision is made.

If the extradition clause is complex, the defendant may stay in jail longer. 

  • Severity of Crime

When processing extradition requests, authorities focus on the most serious offenses. This prioritizing seeks to ensure that individuals are brought to justice. 

  • Pending Legal Cases or Investigations

Pending cases and investigations also determine the duration an individual stays in jail. For instance, authorities may not immediately extradite an individual in a pending case in the country from which extradition is sought. Instead, they wait until the courts resolve the case.

Moreover, jurisdictions hold fugitives longer if they get multiple extradition requests. With many requests, the authorities hold the alleged offenders in jail for longer to allow enough time to review all submissions.

  • Jurisdictional Issues

Extradition becomes complex if the holding and requesting countries lack an extradition treaty. In such scenarios, authorities must navigate multiple legal obstacles to process an extradition request. With the complexities, an individual may stay longer in detention.

Even in cases where an extradition treaty exists, there may be other legal hurdles. For example, some jurisdictions allow fugitives to contest the extradition request. The offender may stay longer in jail awaiting a court decision.

  • Objections From Human Rights Groups

Human rights groups may argue that a fugitive is at risk for human rights violations. The violations can include concerns over the death penalty or inhumane treatment. Moreover, the violations can include the likelihood of an unfair trial. In response, jurisdictions hosting fugitives review each case. Such a review might prolong the time one stays in jail.

Learn More About Extradition From Warren Law Group

How long can someone be held in jail awaiting extradition? One can spend 30 days or several months in prison. The period depends on the crime, existing extradition treaties, and a fugitive’s criminal record.

Whatever the cause of extradition, Warren Law Group can help. We serve those in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and California.

Contact us to understand your options.



Warren Law Group defends individuals and companies in all types of litigation. Our team has decades of experience in all types of litigation, white collar defense, securities litigation, and financial services enforcement proceedings.