Typically, what happens is, following a conversation or a series of conversations with an undercover officer, a person (the target of the investigation) will be asked to show up at a particular place to meet a fictitious child. If the person shows up, they’re then arrested. That’s the typical scenario.
However, there have been situations where people are arrested without agreeing to show up anywhere. They get arrested at their home or at another place but not while they are traveling to meet the fictitious child or traveling for a fictitious sexual encounter. Those are the typical scenarios.
Typically, what the government will do is they will wait until a day after the set up sexual encounter. They use this one-day rule for the purposes of sex that was a set up. If that doesn’t happen, in certain situations, they will still make the arrest and that’s less frequent, but it does happen.
If there is no travel involved, the arrest happens after a conversation occurred about having sex with a child or someone who is underage or a minor.
If someone is arrested, their first encounter will be with law enforcement. They will be told that they are under arrest. They will be handcuffed. They will not typically be read their Miranda rights. They will not typically be told right then, that they have the right to remain silent, the right to get an attorney, and that anything they say can and will be used against them. They will be taken to either a police station or they’ll be taken to the FBI field office or headquarters and then the law enforcement agents will typically attempt to interview them.
My advice to people is that they should never, ever, ever consent to an interview with law enforcement. That will invariably hurt them. The best advice, which actually will not hurt them, is to politely decline an interview and say, “I want to speak with an attorney.” If the person was interviewed, if they consent to an interview, then the interview will take place. If they don’t, then they will be booked. They will also have their fingerprints taken, their photographs taken, and they will likely be brought before a magistrate.
They’ll most likely be brought before a magistrate either that same day or the next day, which may involving being held overnight in jail. They will be processed for either a magistrate or some sort of judge and at least an initial determination will be made as to whether they can be released pending the outcome of their case.
One thing to remember is that the person being questioned needs to definitively say, “I want an attorney.” Don’t ask if you need an attorney or consider whether or not you should contact an attorney. It has to be more definitive than that. Otherwise, law enforcement agents are not going to stop trying to interview you and there’s a whole body of case on that issue.
So there are some law enforcement agents, very few, who would let someone try to contact their lawyer while they are in the interrogation room, although some law enforcement agents also use that as a ploy. They will say, oh go ahead and try to contact your lawyer. You try and contact a lawyer and you can’t get one and they will try to convince you to speak. Again it almost never helps your situation to speak.
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