The vast majority of arrests in Texas and throughout the United States involve state, county, or local officials. They primarily involve violations of state laws, which make up the bulk of criminal prosecutions throughout the country. That does not mean federal arrests are uncommon. Each year, hundreds of thousands of individuals are arrested by federal agents. A federal warrant is typically the catalyst for these arrests.
If you are the subject of a federal warrant or have been taken into custody by federal agents, the process you will face is different compared to state charges. Understanding this process is important given what is at stake. Do not attempt to defend yourself or speak with federal agents without first discussing your situation with a dedicated federal defense attorney. For more information, contact attorney Doug Murphy as soon as possible.
Pre-Arrest Contact from Federal Agents
For some, the first hint that you were the target of a federal investigation occurs when you are picked up on an arrest warrant. For others, the government might make contact long before they decide to make an arrest. Federal agents from a variety of agencies or departments might make contact with you or your business in the guise of asking questions. These agents do not take any action without a reason, which means you are either the subject of their investigation or a potential witness to another crime. In either case, you are entitled to legal counsel to help you decide if you will speak with them at all.
In some situations, you might be able to clear up a misunderstanding with federal officials that will prevent your arrest. Even when this is the case, you should never take these steps alone. You can best protect your legal rights by letting your attorney serve as your advocate for any dealings with the federal government.
Unfortunately, some federal charges are unavoidable. If your attorney has been in contact with federal prosecutors, there is a chance they could allow you to turn yourself in or appear at an initial hearing on a charge as opposed to arresting you on a warrant. This is a good reminder that your defense attorney will not only fight the charges against you but actively work to simplify the criminal justice process for you in every way possible.
How Federal Arrest Warrants Come About
In the end, an arrest on a federal warrant can be inevitable. Often times these warrants are the culmination of months or years of investigation by any number of federal agencies. In some cases, an arrest could follow weeks or months of surveillance or other investigative techniques.
Federal arrest warrants do not occur spontaneously. After the federal agents or the United States Attorney determines they have probable cause, they will prepare an affidavit for a judge. If the court agrees, they will issue for your arrest immediately. The officers typically have the arrest warrant in hand when they take a person into custody. These arrests can occur at any time but are more common during the day.
What Happens During a Federal Arrest
Once the court issues an arrest warrant, law enforcement will take the document from the court and initiate an arrest. Often this arrest occurs immediately, although in some cases the federal officials will need to make an effort to locate the accused.
The arrest can happen anywhere. Often, arrest warrants are served at a person's home or workplace. In other cases, the arrest can occur after a routine traffic stop. In any event, the federal officers will identify themselves and advise the person of the warrant. While not required, officers will often tell the accused why they are under arrest.
There are no bail bondsmen in federal court, for the most part. This means once you are in custody you will remain there until your initial hearing is completed. At the initial hearing, you will have the opportunity to argue for your release pending trial. This is your best chance at getting out of jail immediately and should be handled by a skilled attorney experienced in arguing for conditional release following an arrest for a federal crime.
What to do After Arrest on a Federal Warrant
After the arrest warrant has been issued for you, there is little you can do to dissuade law enforcement from taking you into custody. However, the steps you take can cause significant damage to your chances of avoiding a conviction if you are not careful. For these reasons, consider taking the following steps after an arrest on a federal warrant.
Do not resist arrest. Whether or not you feel your arrest is warranted, never resist or avoid arrest. This can lead to additional criminal charges and also gives the prosecution the chance to argue you resisted or fled due to your consciousness of guilt.
Do not speak to the authorities. The arresting officers will give you the chance to speak to them. They will likely imply the evidence against you is overwhelming, and your only chance for avoiding a conviction is to talk. The reality is saying anything is the worst step you can take. Stay quiet and do not discuss your case under any circumstances.
Call a lawyer. Given the potential penalties that come with federal crimes, it is crucial that you seek legal guidance right away. However, not just any attorney will do. It is in your best interest to work with a board-certified expert in criminal defense law that has extensive experience defending the accused in federal court.
How a Houston Federal Crimes Defense Attorney Can Help
You have the right to defend yourself without the assistance of an attorney, but exercising that right could make the difference in a conviction or an acquittal. The federal government has limitless resources to bring a case against you, which makes having the right legal counsel vital.
Attorney Doug Murphy is a Board Certified expert in criminal defense law that has taken on the federal government and won. To discuss how he can help with your case, schedule a free consultation with the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. right away.