Federal drug arrests can take place in any number of situations ranging from traffic stops to a number of long term investigations and scenarios. Typically a Maryland federal drug lawyer sees these types of arrests take place after an arrest warrant or search warrant has been issued, or after an investigation has been pending for some period of time. So while the arrest may seem like the beginning, there is a strong likelihood that law enforcement already has some degree of evidence against you, increasing the need for legal representation.
It is common in a federal case for the case to be built before an arrest is made, particularly when there is a high level drug official the government is pursuing. The government spends a great amount of time on surveillance, and has confidential informants making deals with them and participating in transactions with them. The Federal System, particularly in Maryland, does not like to lose cases. They usually have their investigation completed and believe that they have a solid case before arresting a high level drug kingpin.
An individual does not have to be arrested by a federal agent. Many of these cases start at the state level where the state prosecutors or police officers initially conduct an investigation. Oftentimes, it is the state prosecutors and state police officers who conduct the arrests in these cases.
Many times, federal agents get involved after the state started their investigation because of its magnitude or information is discovered during the course of the state investigation that makes the federal prosecutors believe it is appropriate to bring the case to the Federal Courts.
With that said, the manpower and the resources of the Federal System to conduct an arrest is much greater than the manpower of the local authorities. The federal authorities are able to conduct the arrest much more quickly than state authorities based on the availability of resources.
Usually, after someone is arrested, they are taken to the station, possibly provided with a copy of their charges, and given the opportunity to be seen by a commissioner. The commissioner determines if the person can be released on a bond immediately. Sometimes the commissioner asks the person some logistical information, but in most cases, they give the person an opportunity to speak to an attorney before they process the person.
At that point, if the individual is not released on bond, a separate hearing is scheduled before a judge who might hear arguments as to the individual’s release on bond. Sometime between the time of booking and the time a person’s bond is refuted, they should be able to have access to an attorney to discuss their case. Generally, this is the process from arrest to booking.
Oftentimes, it helps an individual’s case, particularly in the Federal System, when it comes to the issue of bond. One of the questions that judges consider when somebody is charged and arrested is if that person is a potential flight risk from the court’s perspective.
If the court has to search for an individual, they are more likely to be a flight risk than someone who comes in and surrenders themselves on the case. When an individual surrenders themselves on particular charges, judges perceive that as an indication that they are unlikely to be a flight risk on the case.
When federal drug agents arrest an individual, one of the most important things the person should know is to remain completely silent.
The authorities may ask the person questions or may even tell the person they have a warrant. Their warrant may allow them to search and enter certain premises. It does not, however, force the person to make any statements or have any conversation with the authorities. Oftentimes, people make statements that they think have no effect on them if they decide they want to be cooperative.
When someone is in a situation where federal agents are inside their home or are raiding a particular premise, the federal agents have likely been investigating that situation for quite some time. Based on that, a person making any statements could negatively affect their position in a particular case. Therefore, it is important to remain silent, be polite, and request an attorney.