Heard, 28, was charged with two counts of illegally importing dogs Boo and Pistol, and one count of providing a false document, according to a statement from the Australian Department of Public Prosecutions.
She’s required to face a preliminary hearing before a Judge on Sept. 7, but if she refuses to go, the U.S. government is under no obligation to arrest and force her to return for the hearing.
Depp does not face charges, because Heard is the legal owner of the dogs.
As it turns out, the two countries have an extensive extradition treaty that requires either nation to forceably return citizens to face charges for a range of crimes, from murder, rape and robbery to financial crimes and frauds. But Heard’s offenses are not specifically mentioned.
There is one general “catch all” provision in the treaty that mandates extradition “for any other offences that are made extraditable under the extradition laws of Australia and which are felonies under the laws of the United States of America.”
Even if Heard’s charges are covered, should would still be saved from extradition because her crime is not a felony in the United States. Individual states also have restrictions on importing pets, but, again, violations are not felonies.
Bill Potts, an Aussie criminal defense attorney told Canada’s CTV News that given the seriousness of the charge, Heard would likely be required to appear in person.
Even if convicted, he said Heard is unlikely to face a lengthy jail term because the dogs were flown back to the U.S. before a 72-hour deadline.
Still she could simply chose to ignore the summons with relatively no repercussions. If she does so, however, should would face immediate arrest if she were to return to Australia, or any country with a more favorable extradition treaty.
Heard was in Australia with Depp to film his fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
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