Turn in for a White-Collar Criminal Defendant
Upon your indictment, hopefully your white-collar criminal attorney has been able to arrange a self surrender turn-in. The alternative is that you are surprised by federal agents and taken into custody at your home, job, or other some publicly humiliating place.
Turn-ins typically occur at the United States Marshall Office which is usually located in or near the United States Federal Courthouse. Your attorney can accompany you to their office, but will not be allowed to be with you once you are taken into custody. It is advisable to turn yourself in as early in the morning as possible to try to ensure you see a Magistrate and can bond out the same day, without spending the night incarcerated.
Once you are in the Marshall’s custody, you will be processed. This means they will ask you general biographical information such as your name, date of birth, social security number, etc. It is unlikely that they will ask you any questions about your case or try to discuss it with you in any way. If this occurs, you do not have to speak with them about your case. You will also be fingerprinted. WARNING: FROM THE TIME YOU TURN YOURSELF IN TO THE MARSHALLS UNTIL THE TIME YOU ARE RELEASED AFTER YOUR COURT APPEARANCE, YOU WILL LIKELY BE HANDCUFFED. (Many criminal attorneys forget to tell their clients this, and it is shocking to the white-collar defendant that has never been in custody.)
You will then meet with a representative of Pretrial Services. They will ask you information to assist them in providing a report to the Court that will be making a bond determination. Again, they should not ask you details of your case, and you can refuse to answer any such questions. Their questions will focus on your employment, your ties to the community, and criminal history.
Next, you will appear before a United States Magistrate Judge. This is usually not the Judge that will actually hear the trial of your case. This judge will generally advise you of the charges against you as well as the maximum punishment, if convicted. The judge will then make a determination of bond conditions. (Talk with your attorney to see if you need to bring your passport for forfeiture.) The fact you are being allowed to self-surrender is a very good indicator that you will be allowed to remain out on bond. This Court appearance usually occurs several hours after your initial turn-in, and your attorney is allowed to be present with you. In most cases, from the time you turn yourself in, until you are released post hearing takes three to six hours.
It is usually advisable for your criminal attorney to call the United States Marshall’s Office and Pretrial Service Office a day or two before turn-in so they can be prepared for your arrival and helps ensure a smooth and uneventful turn-in and initial court appearance.