Federal Detention – Detention Orders in Federal Court

by | Aug 21, 2018 | Blog Posts, Federal Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Federal Detention – Detention Orders in Federal Court

federal detention

Federal detention is a part of the federal criminal justice system. When you are charged with a federal crime in federal court, one of the first court considerations is whether the defendant will be detained while his case is on-going.  Unlike state court, monetary bail is not set in federal court.

The federal criminal process can take a very long time to get through. One of the most frustrating factors for the person accused of a federal crime and that person’s loved ones is the pre-trial detention process.  Unfortunately, our clients are typically unaware of the process when they are initially charged with a federal crime.  In this blog, we will discuss some of the topics related to federal detention.

Pre-Trial release in federal criminal law

In state court, the judge or magistrate typically sets a bond amount.  Once that bond is posted by the defendant or by someone on behalf of the defendant, the defendant is released.  In federal court, however, the process is different.  With federal charges, the defendant is detained while awaiting trial or the court releases the federal defendant and sets some specific conditions of release.  These conditions will typically include electronic monitoring, checking in with a probation officer, and several other conditions.

The federal government and the defense can come to agreement regarding these conditions. They then present that agreement to the court for approval.  If an agreement cannot be reached, this issue can be resolved by a judge via a detention hearing.

Detention hearings

A federal defendant is entitled to a hearing regarding his detention.  This is similar to a bond hearing in state court.  At this hearing the defendant will be allowed to present evidence to show that he is not a danger to the community or a flight risk.

The role of the probation officer

  • Typically, for a detention hearing there will be a federal probation officer involved. That officer’s job is to provide a report to the court that has his recommendations about whether the defendant should be detained or released.
  • The court typically strongly considers what the probation officer has to say, when deciding.

Motion to revoke order of detention

If a judge orders that the defendant in a federal case be detained, that may not necessarily be the last step in the process. An attorney may, on his client’s behalf, appeal a detention order.  This law is governed by federal statutes, regarding review of detention orders.

A criminal defense attorney can file a motion to revoke detention.  In essence, this would be an appeal of the order of detention.  The defendant would have to clearly show that there are exceptional reasons why the detention of the defendant would not be appropriate.

Federal criminal defense is a very complicated process that takes expertise and knowledge in a wide range of areas.  If you have been charged with a federal crime in North Carolina, or if you have been charged with a federal crime in South Carolina, contact us.


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