Queen Creek, AZ asked in Criminal Law for Arizona

Q: If I was to fly back from another country into USA and landed in Washington and have an active warrant in California.

Would California come get me? Would they know if have an warrant right when I land using my passport? Would I be able to enter the U.S. without them finding out I have a warrant? Or be prepared to be arrested?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Zachary Divelbiss
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: Yes, if you have an active warrant then you should always expect to be arrested any time you come into contact with law enforcement. We have seen this happen both if you are entering or leaving at an airport as once you provide your ID the system checks for any flags. Now, it is impossible to say 100% if they will be aware of your warrant. You might get lucky and fly under the radar.

Keep in mind that you should be taken into custody in WA but then WA has to contact CA to see if CA even wants to extradite you. In some situations, CA might not want to spend the time or money to go and get you based on the charge. For instance, if the warrant is for a misdemeanor, then they typically do not care. If it is a felony, they usually do care. Keep in mind you might be sitting in WA for a long time waiting for CA to make up their mind. Remember, this is a court/criminal process and it isn't just a simple phone call.

If you are unsure what is going to happen, you should also consider contacting a CA criminal firm to get more guidance on this as they would be a little more familiar with the process of how CA extradites.

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