What Jurisdiction Do The FBI Have?

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What Jurisdiction Do The FBI Have?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is an intelligence-based and threat-focused domestic national security of the United States of America, its principal federal law enforcement agency. The FBI is a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and it is bound to report to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. The FBI works on gathering facts and evidence to solve problems and prevent crimes. The bureau has been given the authority to investigate crimes using the services, such as fingerprint identification, laboratory examinations, and training. The results are analyzed and shared with the concerned partners to understand and stop the spread of crimes in the United States.

What is the jurisdiction of the FBI?

The Bureau operates under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, along with that it is a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The question a lot of people have in mind when it comes to jurisdiction is what exactly is FBI jurisdiction? To better understand it let’s break down the term first, ‘FBI’ stands for Federal Bureau of Investigation, and ‘jurisdiction’ is the legal term for the legal authority granted to a legal body to authorize justice. In the case of the jurisdiction of the FBI, the federal law of the States gives authority to the FBI to investigate all federal crimes Federal law gives the FBI authority to investigate all federal crimes (28, Section 533 of the U.S. Code).

The investigative authority is the broadest of all federal law enforcement agencies. The FBI has several divisions which investigate different crimes such as counterterrorism, violent crimes, major offender, and organized crime as well as crimes related to narcotics, civil rights, cybercrimes, foreign counterintelligence, applicant matters and financial crime all come under FBI jurisdiction.

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What does the FBI have jurisdiction over?

The FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes. Some of the crimes over which the FBI has jurisdiction over will be shared in the blog post.

Detect and Prosecute Crimes

According to the Title 28, U.S. Code, Section 533, the attorney general is authorized to appoint officials to detect and prosecute crimes against the United States. The official who is going to be appointed has the responsibility to solve the case and report to the attorney general. The duration of solving a crime case varies; it can take from a few days to several years. It all depends upon the complexity of the crime.

Arrests/Firearms/ Warrants

The constitution allows the special agents and officials of the FBI to make arrests, carry firearms, and serve warrants (Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 3052). The officer who is conducting an investigation is authorized to arrest the suspects or issue warrants against them. Alongside that, they are always allowed to carry a licensed firearm with them.

Seizures under Warrant

The United States Constitution under Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 3107, allows the special agents and inspectors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice to make seizures under warrant for violation of federal laws. The warrant must meet four requirements:

  • The warrant must be filed in good faith by a law enforcement officer
  • The warrant must be based on reliable information showing probable cause to search
  • The warrant must be issued by a neutral and detached magistrate
  • The warrant must state specifically the place to be searched and the items to be seized

The FBI agents are permitted to investigate under several other federal statutes such as the Congressional Assassination, Kidnapping, and Assault Act (Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 351). Along with that, they are authorized to investigate violations of state law in limited circumstances, specifically felonious killings of officials and employees of a State or political subdivision (28 U.S.C. § 540), violent crimes against interstate travelers (28 U.S.C. § 540A0), and jurisdiction of serial killers (28 U.S.C. §540B).


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General Functions

(Title 28, Section 0.85) of Code of Federal Regulations, defines the general functions and responsibilities of the FBI. This includes:

  1. Investigate violations of criminal drug laws of the U.S. and collect evidence in which the State is involved or maybe a party of interest.
  2. Conduct the acquisition, collection, exchange, classification, and preservation of fingerprints and identification records from criminal justice and other governmental agencies. This includes fingerprints which are voluntarily submitted by individuals for identification use.
  3. Conduct personnel investigations requisite to the work of the Department of Justice and whenever required by statute or otherwise.
  4. Investigate espionage, sabotage, subversive activities, and other related matters of foreign counterintelligence including potential violations of the Arms Export Control Act, the Export Administration Act, the Trading with the Enemy Act, or the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
  5. Establish and conduct law enforcement training programs to provide training for State and local law enforcement officers at the FBI National Academy. The purpose of these programs is to improve and strengthen law enforcement in the prevention of crimes.
  6. Conduct a central clearinghouse for police statistics under the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, in which computerization of the nationwide index of law enforcement information is done.
  7. Operate FBI Laboratory to provide free technical and scientific assistance to the Bureau as well as all duly constituted law enforcement agencies, other organizational units of the Department of Justice, and other Federal agencies who want to avail of the service.

National Security

The FBI is also responsible for investigating threats to national security following presidential executive orders. According to the Title II of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the FBI Director is required to develop and maintain a specialized and integrated national intelligence workforce of agents, analysts, linguists, and surveillance specialists who are committed to the intelligence mission of the FBI.

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Does the FBI have Jurisdiction Overseas?

The FBI does have jurisdiction overseas which is conducted by a legal attaché program under the supervision of the International Operations Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. the purpose of this program is to strengthen the global rule of law and be the bridge to the FBI’s overseas partners. The bureau is bound to operate through the elements of the international law enforcement community; Interpol and Europol.

The officers who are deployed for international intelligence regularly coordinate with the international leaders and have close relations with other federal agencies, foreign law enforcement entities, and security officers in Washington, D.C

There are several FBI jurisdictions to investigate extraterritorial criminal and terrorist activity however; the FBI only conducts an investigation when the international team is invited by the host country. The Bureau helps in gathering evidence and making arrests incorporated with the host country.

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