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U.S. Marshals Service

Public Defender's Handbook

Non-Custodial Transportation of Defendants

Prisoners on Bond. In 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. Marshal’s office 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. Marshal’s office to provide the cost of one-way transportation to the court city. This authority is limited to payment of one time transportation for the defendants 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. Marshal’s office is not authorized to provide the defendant with subsistence payments at the trial site. The defendant should either:

  1. remain in the court’s jurisdiction, or
  2. travel at his own expense, or
  3. contact Pretrial services for assistance

In 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. is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice