It is somewhat common for people to have warrants or pending criminals case in multiple states. This can complicate matters and lead to unfavorable outcomes, yet if handled properly can result in outcomes more favorable than might have been had with charges in a single state.
The fact that people travel more now than in the past contributes the fact that charges in multiple states are more common than in years past. Also, people who live near the border between two or more states can easily find themselves in multiple states each day. Indeed, Davenport, Iowa (where the Puryear Law P.C. office is located) is just a few miles from Illinois, and many people in the area will live in one state and work in another, or go spend time with family and friends in a state other than the one where they live.
That mobility between states can lead to criminal charges in multiple states, sometimes even in a way that is not expected by the person who is charged. Obviously if a person is accused of robbing a gas station in one state then going to another state to commit a robbery, they are not surprised when charges are filed in each state. However, other actions can lead to charges in multiple states without a person setting foot outside of their home state. Charges relating to bad checks or fraud commonly involve multiple states, especially when the individuals or businesses involved are near the border between states or operate in multiple states.
Having charges pending in multiple states can create quite a problem for a defendant. Often the most significant problem relates to out-of-state warrants or detainers, which can prevent a person from bonding out of jail in the in-state case. Bond amounts are often set higher by the court when there is an out-of-state defendant, or when there are other charges pending against that same defendant. Sometimes, courts will revoke bond when a person is charged out-of-state, even when the facts of that charge make it clear that the alleged offense was committed before the bond had been posted. In other cases, a person may be arrested on new charges while out-of-state and as a result fail to make it to court on their original court case, resulting in a failure to appear. When there are multiple cases pending that result in convictions and sentences in custody, failing to comprehensively address those cases can result in a person serving consecutive (back-to-back) sentences when it may have been possible to have sentences run concurrently (at the same time).
However, cases in multiple states can represent an opportunity if handled properly. Sometimes, it is possible to work out deals where a person who was already going to spend time in custody in one state can get credit for that time in another state. As an example, I have had clients who had pending cases in Illinois and Iowa were we were able to get the client credit in one state for time already being spent in custody in the other state. In other cases, we have been able to persuade a judge not to revoke bond or issue a warrant due to a person’s failure to appear when they are in custody in a different state.
Criminal cases are always important to handle properly. That is especially true when multiple states are involved. A person who is facing charges in multiple states is well advised to seek an attorney at once.