Can your passport be confiscated if you are facing state charges?

I assume that if you have federal charges hanging over your head, the Federal Government can order you to surrender your passport until the charges are resolved.

Does the same apply if you are facing state charges? Can a state government compel you to surrender your passport (or in some other way prevent you from leaving the country) until after the charges are resolved?


They can give you the choice surrender your passport or you will not be given bail.

That’s helpful, thanks.

So, just to confirm I’m understanding correctly, let’s assume I am convicted of a federal crime and am immediately pardoned (or as soon as possible afterwards). If I also have state charges hanging over my head, I cannot flee by leaving the country since I would already have given up my passport or had already been denied bail?

Hope that makes sense. Basically I’m thinking of Paul Manafort getting a pardon and fleeing from state charges (as you may have figured, but I wanted to keep politics out of the question, at least initially).

I guess the key is to not look like a flight risk right up to the moment you board the plane.

What do you mean by “hanging over his head”? If by that you mean he has already been charged with state crimes prior to the pardon being issued , he would already have been to court on the charges and either had bail conditions set or been denied bail.

However , if by “hanging over his head” you mean that he is worried that one or more states will bring charges against him, but none have actually done so yet, that’s a very different issue.

I’d like to know how they know you have a passport to surrender in the first place?

Not the state government.
But the Judge in your case can make that a condition of you getting bail instead of being held in jail. And the state prosecutor can ask the Judge to require this.

Well, it was the government who gave him a passport in the first place, so they have records of this. And in this specific case, he is well known to have traveled overseas (some of his crimes were committed overseas), so they can presume he has a passport.
Or they could just, like, ask him in court.

According to this page from the State Department, one of the ways a third party (including a judge) can get access to passport records is by a “Court order signed by a judge of competent jurisdiction requesting the Department of State to release passport records.”

But then, you still have the issue that the feds have the passport. Presumably, unless the state trooper is standing there at the federal courthouse when the property clerk(?) hands back the passport, there will be a short time where the perp has the passport. Presumably he’s under orders to surrender it, if the bail conditions anticipated this. However, if he was arraigned stately while on bail federally, would the court even think about the possibility the feds would hand the passport back (or is that a boilerplate condition? I presume even “don’t leave the state” is a condition?) Then, the perp would be risking being jailed for violating conditions if he did not expeditiously take the passport to the state courthouse? So if you plan to depart, make it quick, before the state troopers get wind of the handback.

Also note if you claim the passport is lost, then that fact would probably be relayed to the state department, making the passport useless where a country’s entry customs computers are connected to the net.

There are ways to flee the country that don’t involve a passport, or have a minimal likelihood of your passport being examined (private boat, land border with Mexico), but for a flight they get machine-read. In addition to taking the physical passport couldn’t the feds just put someone on the no-fly list in cases like this?

“arraigned stately”–This is how I intend to be arraigned at all times from this point forward.

I have a friend whose teenage son (18 year old college freshman in another state) was charged with assault & battery after a drunken college brawl. He ended up plea bargaining, but initially the judge ordered that he and his codefendants could not leave the jurisdiction to go home for the summer. He did not confiscate their passports, but if they violated the court order & left the state, they would be fugitives of justice.

They could ask I suppose but would I be required to answer? Then I guess pleading the fifth would probably trigger and oder to find out, as mentioned below.

In this case it looks unlikely its a routine check preformed prior to the bail being set.

Thinking about it, I bet it’s more likely a person on bail is flagged in the TSA/border patrol data bases and might be stopped that way instead of a passport surrender keeping them from trying to leave.

Eta: looks like post ten covers this as well.

If the question “do you have a passport?” could somehow incriminate you then you would not be required to answer. But if it had no relevance to the case in question or any other criminal wrong-doing, you could be required to answer.

Of course, if the person himself were on trial, then he’d be foolish to take the stand in the first place. If it’s not him on trial, then there’s no bail conditions applicable, he’s not charged. So what then if he has a passport?

The No Fly List is supposed to track actual and suspected terrorists, and is maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center. I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think there is any provision for listing garden-variety criminals (and criminal suspects).

The one time I was in Mexico (for an hour) I took a trolley to the end of the line and went through a turnstile without reporting to anybody. Of course, I needed a passport to get back.

I would expect this to happen at an arraignment hearing, not at a trial. The person could be asked about the passport without having taken the stand.