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What Is a Federal Arrest?

Violations of federal laws hold a much more severe form of penalty and involves the arrest of an individual suspected of having committed such a violation. Federal arrests are done when a more serious type of criminal charge is brought up against the individual that involves violation of national laws. This type of arrest is commonly used in the United States of America, but other forms may be found in other countries that espouse a federalist form of government.

A federal arrest warrant is issued by a judge when an individual or entity, usually a law enforcement officer, provides sufficient and probable cause for the arrest. A federal arrest warrant is dependent on whether or not a US Congress statute, state legislature, or government authority has been violated. The judge evaluates legal documents presenting facts and testimonies supporting the case against the individual to be arrested. If the judge ascertains that there is probable cause, he or she issues a federal arrest warrant.

However, there are times when an arrest warrant may not be needed in order to apprehend an individual suspected of violating federal laws. The exception to the need to obtain a federal arrest warrant is when a suspect may have sufficient time to escape or to destroy relevant evidence. Other conditions that are proven to be justifiable in court can also apply to making a federal arrest without an arrest warrant. A law enforcement officer then conducts a federal arrest, and the accused individual is immediately presented to the judge as required by federal law.

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