From the moment the film G-Men entered the American consciousness in 1935, the country has been fascinated by what the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is and does — and how it does it. However, while some movies like Silence of the Lambs focus on the investigative aspects of the FBI, many focus on the pivotal moment of arrest — the loud banging on a locked door in the dark; someone screaming “Federal agents!” with weapons drawn and aimed toward the door; and finally, agents rushing in to secure the target of the raid, sometimes through a shoot-out.
Do these types of dramatic arrests happen in real life? Sometimes yes, though many times, an FBI arrest isn't that different from one by state or local police. Regardless of how the arrest happens, though, there are some key points to keep in mind post-arrest if the FBI is arresting you or your loved one:
1. Stay calm.
Resisting arrest by the FBI is, quite simply, not advisable. Doing so may end up bringing additional federal charges against you, and cooperating could help your case later. So take deep breaths and pay attention to everything the agents are telling you, especially the reason they are arresting you and your rights.
2. Understand the process.
After your arrest, FBI agents will take you before a judge for an “initial appearance,” where you will learn about the charges against you. Then, the judge will decide whether to hold you in jail before trial or, if you're being released, the conditions of release.
After the initial appearance comes either a trial or plea. You will go to a trial if you want to fight the charges or enter a guilty plea if you don't. The last part of the federal criminal process is sentencing.
3. Hire a lawyer.
Being arrested for a federal crime is serious and can carry severe penalties, including lengthy incarceration and hefty fines. Ideally, you should have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side from before your initial appearance to ensure your rights are protected.
If you or a loved one are facing federal criminal charges, the time for legal representation is now. Contact Sigal Law Group or call (818) 325-0570 to discuss your case today.