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The arrest process for any crime is generally similar, but the dynamics of what is happening and the gravity of the situation can differ greatly. You know it is a serious legal matter when the federal agents show up, even if they are just asking questions about what a suspect may or may not know about a criminal investigation. All police officers are zealous to some extent, but federal gents know they are only activated over truly pertinent criminal activity. Most minor legal problems are delegated to the state law enforcement officials unless there is an interstate component to the criminal associations. The mere fact that potential criminal activity is taking place across state lines is all it takes for the feds to get involved, and many times the information that is gleaned by both state and federal authorities is used in collaborative efforts. Regardless of the scenario, there is a definite chance of arrest when federal agents arrive because they more often than not have warrants in hand. And solid legal representation from an experienced federal criminal defense attorney will be necessary from the very beginning.
There are specific steps for a proper federal arrest and defendant processing, and all federal law enforcement officers have been well-trained in protocol. However, they still may want to conduct an investigation beforehand if they are fishing for more information. Always be cautious when talking to a federal agent because they mean what they say about holding your own statements against you. The best personal decision may be to not answer any questions without first obtaining legal counsel if at all possible. Officers who already have a warrant will conduct an arrest according to protocol unless they think they have caught the suspect in the process of committing a crime or in possession of other potential evidence. It is always advisable to not say anything and go along without incident until an attorney can be retained. What happens in an arrest process can be vital to your case, and resisting arrest only complicates matters.
While federal enforcement officers can take a defendant to any federal holding facility, it is not absolutely necessary. Many times prisoners can be lodged in local facilities in the beginning. Those who are taken to a federal holding station will more than likely be seeing a judge in very short order to determine bond. Having a federal criminal defense attorney is important even during the booking process because pretrial services will already be discussing the release with a judge in most cases. Defendants are typically finger-printed during booking and read their rights at the time of arrest. Your criminal defense attorney will not only be helpful when bond is being determined, but they can ensure that all legal rights are enforced. Making bond can be a real problem in a federal case because the standards are typically much higher and judges tend to impose the most restrictive bond they can, especially when they think the defendant could be a flight risk. Significant property bonds are common, and “cash only” release bonds can be very difficult.
First Court Appearance
The quicker a defendant can appear for arraignment, the better the potential outcome for the most part. The nature of the crime determines this component of an arrest. Defendants are read their charges and the judge will again address the legal rights of the accused. Terms of bond can be discussed in the arraignment as well, and bond reductions can be applied in certain cases. Defendant behavior during the arrest procedure can impact the case along with the severity of the charges. Federal courts have standard bonds for most crimes, but the material case evidence being used for prosecution is important as well. From this point it is always best to let your criminal defense attorney handle all communication with the court, and do not give the court any kind of statement without proper legal consultation.
All federal defendants will always need solid legal counsel when they have been arrested by law enforcement officials. The same general rules apply at all court levels, but the seriousness is obviously higher with federal charges. Never attempt making the situation better by discussing the case with federal enforcement officers. Always contact an experienced and aggressive federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible who can step in immediately and demand legal rights protections.