U.S. Marshal Arrest Procedures

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Overview

Planning the Arrest

  • A U.S. marshal needs reasonable cause to make an arrest for a felony crime. In the planning of the arrest, the superior deputy in the proceedings makes the decision whether to contact local law enforcement agencies. Assistance from the local police might be sought should the deputy see a need for additional law enforcement officers.

Initiating the Arrest

  • An arresting deputy identifies himself to a suspect orally and by showing his U.S. Marshals badge. The marshal physically restrains the suspect, most often with handcuffs, and moves him to a location with as few exits as possible. Both of the marshal's actions help prevent the suspect from trying to escape during the arrest.

Searching and Advising the Suspect

  • An initial pat-down search of the suspect is designed to check for weapons, items to be used in escape or evidence that might be disposed of. The pat-down search requires the arresting deputy to pat her hands over the outside of the suspect's body and when possible, should be conducted by a deputy that is the same sex as the suspect. This helps maintain the dignity of the suspect and prevents sexual harassment allegations.
    All suspects, once restrained and searched, must have their rights read to them. The suspect's native language must be used to advise. Deputies carry cards in Spanish and English to advise suspects of their rights under U.S. law.
    The rights read to the suspect, known as the Miranda warning, note that the suspect has the right to remain silent, he has the right to hire an attorney or have one appointed to represent him, and anything said by the suspect can be used against him.
    The suspect, now a prisoner, has the opportunity to sign a waiver of rights form in her native language. This allows the prisoner to acknowledge that she was read her rights and understood them, but still wishes to answer the deputy's questions in the interview.

Magistrate Judges and Complaints

  • Before making an arrest, a deputy can seek a warrant from a magistrate by filing a complaint under oath. The judge then issues the arrest warrant. This can occur either before or after the arrest. Should the suspect have been arrested without a warrant, the deputy brings the prisoner to a judge to file a complaint and receive a formal arrest warrant. A delay in seeking a warrant for an arrested suspect could result in an inability to prosecute.
    The agency in charge of the arrest--local or state police or federal marshals--takes charge of detaining the prisoner in jail until a court hearing before a judge can be set.

  • Photo Credit public domain/wikicommons.org arfo/iStock/Getty Images
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