You are here:

Criminal Law/FBI arrest procedures


How long can the FBI hold an arrestee for having their day in court? What are the procedures? Arrest, arraignment and then?



Federal arrest procedures (FBI, DEA, DHS, etc.) are set forth in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (FRCP).

As a VERY general outline:

A federal agent may make an arrest for any federal offense committed in his/her presence and do so without an Arrest Warrant. Some states permit a federal agent to make an arrest for a state offense as a "law enforcement officer" especially, if the safety of the public is concerned.

They may also make an arrest with a "Compliant" which contains the essential facts constituting the offense charged. It is made under oath to a judicial officer. If this same judicial officer finds sufficient probable cause, he/she will issue an official Arrest Warrant based on the formal Complaint.

They may also make an arrest on a direct Indictment ("True Bill") from a federal grand jury. This Indictment will also be accompanied by an Arrest Warrant signed by a federal judicial officer.  

As a general rule, any defendant arrested by a federal agent must be taken forthwith before a federal magistrate or federal judge (arraignment) to be advised of the charges and given any supporting documents (Complaint/Indictment, etc). A preliminary hearing must be held within 14-days if the defendant is in custody and within 21-days if not in custody.

After the preliminary hearing, the judge will usually schedule  "status hearings" to stay on top of the case and the government is required to adhere to the Speedy Trial requirements.

The MPM Group, Inc.  

Criminal Law

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Kevin M. Tamez


Kevin M. Tamez serves as one of the most senior and experienced consultants at The MPM Group, Inc. During more than 27 years of both state and federal law enforcement experience, Mr. Tamez held supervisory roles with state law enforcement as well as senior management positions with the U.S. Department of Justice - serving in both domestic as well as foreign posts. In addition to his extensive foreign operational experience, Mr. Tamez is a court adjudicated expert in most Title 18 and Title 21 complex criminal, undercover, and electronic (Title III) intercept investigations. As a senior manager, he is also an authority in most government administrative matters to include Human Resource and Workers’ Compensation issues. Mr. Tamez has broadened his already considerable expertise by authoring various legal reference and inmate advocacy manuals. Mr. Tamez is frequently sought after for his expertise in counseling and preparing convicted law enforcement personnel, politicians, and other “celebrities” for reporting to a federal penal facility.


More than 27-years of both state and federal law enforcement. Uniform patrol, Tactical Operations, SWAT, Detective Bureau (Narcotics), and Uniform Supervision. U.S. Federal Agent (Series-1811), all facets of complex domestic investigations, Special Operations, Paramilitary operations overseas, senior management, strategic planning, etc.

Mr. Tamez has authored several formal "Position Papers" as well as several legal reference manuals to include “The Pre-Release/Post-Release Process for Federal Inmates," “Medical Issues for Federal Inmates,” and “The Administrative Remedy Process for Federal Inmates,” thereby establishing himself as one of this industry’s foremost authorities in BOP procedural and administrative matters as well. In addition to his recent legal reference manuals and other professional publications, Mr. Tamez recently authored the critically acclaimed “The BOP’s Failure to Properly Implement the 2nd Chance Act of 2007” as well as the educational website

Mr. Tamez holds a Bachelor's of Arts Degree and has done graduate work at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Mr. Tamez is a graduate of the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy and both the Basic & Advanced Special Agent courses in Quantico Virginia.

Past/Present Clients
Protected by Privacy Agreements

©2017 All rights reserved.