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A prisoner in hand-cuff

Non-Custodial Transportation of Defendants


Prisoners on Bond

18 U.S.C., Section 4285 authorizes payment for the travel of released indigent criminal defendants on bail at court proceedings. This section allows the court to direct the U.S. Marshals to arrange for the "non-custodial one-way transportation" (i.e., payment of travel expenses) of a defendant on bond "to the place where his appearance [before the court] is required."

Once the court determines that a defendant or bond is unable to afford his own transportation to court, the court can direct the U.S. Marshals to provide the cost of one-way transportation to the court city. This authority is limited to payment of one-time transportation for the defendant's court appearance only. Travel is not authorized for pretrial consultations with defense attorneys or for pretrial service consultations.

Once a defendant travels to the court's jurisdiction, the U.S. Marshals is not authorized to provide the defendant with subsistence payments at the trial site. The defendant should either:

  • remain in the court's jurisdiction, or
  • travel at his own expense, or
  • contact Pretrial services for assistance

18 U.S.C., Section 3154 provides guidance for assistance for the defendant while in the court city for trial. For additional guidance, please refer to 18 U.S.C., Section 3006a.