Federal Arrest Process

Being arrested on Federal criminal charges can be one of the most difficult times in your life. Although there is no substitute for an experienced and knowledgeable Federal criminal lawyer or defense attorney, understanding the Federal arrest process can help ease the emotional burden.

The Initial Interaction with Law Enforcement: Not Always an Immediate Arrest

Sometimes, you will be aware of an on-going Federal criminal investigation. Maybe the FBI came to talk to you or, in an even more concerning scenario, maybe they executed a search warrant at your home or place of business. If so, at that point, you should be sure to reach out to an experienced Federal criminal defense attorney to not merely “help” you, but protect your rights going forward. Speaking to the agents from the FBI or other Federal investigative agencies without a criminal lawyer to represent you is rarely, if ever, in your best interests. As obvious as it may seem, you should immediately attempt to identify and retain a competent Federal counsel.

If law enforcement makes no attempt to meet with you prior to an arrest, then your arrest will require an immediate response. In those circumstances, again, you should quickly seek out an attorney well versed in Federal criminal practice in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut who can help you with the Federal criminal process; which is vastly different than any state’s process.

Your Right to Remain Silent: Protection from Self Incrimination

Regardless of how or why the FBI or another Federal agency arrested you, upon your arrest Federal agents will almost always want to take a statement from you, or otherwise talk with you about the case. They may or may not inform you of your rights, including the right to remain silent and to obtain an attorney – your so-called “Miranda” rights. On occasion the Federal agents will let you make a phone call to let your loved ones know where you are or contact your attorney. No matter where they take you, how nice they are to you, how much they promise you, or if they gave you your Miranda warnings, you should tell them, politely and respectfully, that you want to contact your Federal criminal attorney and that you do not want to answer any questions or speak about the charges at that time. It is extremely unlikely that anything you say at this point will benefit you later on. The agents may try different ways to discuss the case with you, but once you indicate that you want your attorney present, they must not question you any further.

Processing and “Pedigree"

The agents may bring you to the agency’s local office to obtain some “pedigree” or personal information and possibly obtain your fingerprints. While you should not talk to the agents about the case, you should provide them with truthful, accurate pedigree information such as your name, date of birth, address, and the like. It is probable that they already have this information and failing to provide or confirm it to them will only make your ability to get out of custody quickly that much more difficult. Providing a fake name or address will only delay your court appearance, your ability to contact your family and lawyer, and convince the District Court Judge that you are a risk for bail.

From the Field Office to the Court House: Pre-Trial Services (PTS)

After the agents complete their questioning regarding your pedigree information, they will bring you to the nearest Federal District Court Courthouse. This may or may not be the courthouse where your case will be pending afterwards. At the Courthouse, within a few hours of your arrest, you will meet with an officer from Pre-Trial Services (PTS) who will make a recommendation to the court about what, if any, bail is appropriate in your case. This decision is based upon their knowledge and experience about what the least restrictive conditions are that will reasonably assure your appearance in court during the pendency of the case. For that reason, you should also fully cooperate with the PTS officer. They will likely ask you many questions about your background, family status, pedigree information, legal status in the United States, your employment, prior criminal convictions and financial status. However, you should not discuss the merits or “facts” of your case with the PTS officer. You want to inform the PTS officer of anything that makes it more likely that you will appear in court than flee – such as your family ties to the area, your continued employment, your ownership of any property that can be used as collateral to secure your bail, and the like. The PTS officer will recommend a particular “bail package” that he or she believes will reasonably guarantee your appearance in court. This recommendation is not binding on the Magistrate or District Court Judge, however, the court takes it into consideration in making a final determination.

Once you have been interviewed by Pre-Trial Services, you will typically be kept in a holding cell in the Federal Courthouse until the Judge is ready to see you for your initial appearance or arraignment. This can take anywhere from a short time, to all day, depending on many factors such as how many other arrests there have been, the Judge’s availability, Pre-Trial Service’s ability to prepare your report and recommendation, among others. If you are waiting for an attorney to be appointed by the court for you, it will not occur until you are in the Courthouse holding area. Usually, you will be able to meet with your Federal criminal attorney before you appear in front of the Judge. You will have an opportunity to discuss the complaint or indictment with your attorney, as well as your ability to put together a “bail package.”

Simply, there are many moving parts related to the Federal arrest process. Contacting and retaining an experienced Federal criminal attorney as soon as possible can only help you and your family as you move through the criminal justice system.

The lawyers at Crotty Saland PC have years of experience as both Federal and State prosecutors, and in defending the rights of those accused. At a minimum, the Federal criminal defense attorneys at Crotty Saland PC will be able to answer the questions you and your family have, explain the arrest process in more detail, and be the conduit between you, your loved ones and Federal law enforcement. Even more importantly, the criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC can best protect your rights and set you on a path of exoneration or mitigation before your legal situation can be compounded irreparably.

Do not be a bystander in your own criminal defense. Contact the Federal criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC and allow our experience, advocacy and knowledge to work for you.

Call the Federal criminal lawyers and former prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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