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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 2.122 Special Investigator

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - Brian Foley - Board Certified in Criminal Law.


We continue our journey through the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure with a very procedurey (yes I made that word up) section. Article 2.122 lists Special Investigators.


This is a list of people who have the power to arrest, search, and seize under the laws of Texas as to felony offenses only. This is basically a list authorizing federal agents to make felony arrests in Texas even though they are not classified as "Peace Officers."


  1. FBI agents

  2. Secret Service Agents

  3. ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement)

  4. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agents

  5. DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration)

  6. Postal Service Inspectors (yes really).

  7. IRS Agents

  8. Naval Investigative Service

  9. US Marshals

  10. Customs and Border Patrol

There are quite a few additional law enforcement agencies of a federal nature listed in the Statute. But if you ever get prosecuted for a misdemeanor offense in State Court and the arrest was made by a federal agent, this statute could come in handy when read along with 38.23 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure which suppresses evidence which was obtained due to an illegal arrest.


The Statute doesn't do much else so today's post is a short one. Thanks for reading.


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For attorneys: This Blog is informational and educational in nature and is not a substitute for Westlaw or other research and consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients. As you know the law can change day to day based on recent case opinions. And unfortunately you shouldn't cite it in court as binding authority because it is not. Mention it to your friends, just seek real consultation if it’s something important.



Art. 2.122. SPECIAL INVESTIGATORS. (a) The following named criminal investigators of the United States shall not be deemed peace officers, but shall have the powers of arrest, search, and seizure under the laws of this state as to felony offenses only: (1) Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; (2) Special Agents of the Secret Service; (3) Special Agents of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement; (4) Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; (5) Special Agents of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration; (6) Inspectors of the United States Postal Inspection Service; (7) Special Agents of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service; (8) Civilian Special Agents of the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service; (9) Marshals and Deputy Marshals of the United States Marshals Service; (10) Special Agents of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; (11) Special Agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration; (12) Special Agents of the Office of Inspector General of the United States Social Security Administration; (13) Special Agents of the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs; (14) Special Agents of the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Agriculture; (15) Special Agents of the Office of Export Enforcement of the United States Department of Commerce; (16) Special Agents of the Criminal Investigation Command of the United States Army; (17) Special Agents of the Office of Special Investigations of the United States Air Force; and (18) a police officer with the Office of Security and Law Enforcement of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. (b) An officer or agent designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security under 40 U.S.C. Section 1315 for duty in connection with the protection of property owned or occupied by the federal government and persons on the property is not a peace officer but has the powers of arrest and search and seizure as to any offense under the laws of this state. (c) A Customs and Border Protection Officer or Border Patrol Agent of the United States Customs and Border Protection or an immigration enforcement agent or deportation officer of the Department of Homeland Security is not a peace officer under the laws of this state but, on the premises of a port facility designated by the commissioner of the United States Customs and Border Protection as a port of entry for arrival in the United States by land transportation from the United Mexican States into the State of Texas or at a permanent established border patrol traffic check point, has the authority to detain a person pending transfer without unnecessary delay to a peace officer if the agent or officer has probable cause to believe that the person has engaged in conduct that is a violation of Section 49.02, 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code, regardless of whether the violation may be disposed of in a criminal proceeding or a juvenile justice proceeding. (d) A commissioned law enforcement officer of the National Park Service is not a peace officer under the laws of this state, except that the officer has the powers of arrest, search, and seizure as to any offense under the laws of this state committed within the boundaries of a national park or national recreation area. In this subsection, "national park or national recreation area" means a national park or national recreation area included in the National Park System as defined by 16 U.S.C. Section 1c(a). (e) A Special Agent or Law Enforcement Officer of the United States Forest Service is not a peace officer under the laws of this state, except that the agent or officer has the powers of arrest, search, and seizure as to any offense under the laws of this state committed within the National Forest System. In this subsection, "National Forest System" has the meaning assigned by 16 U.S.C. Section 1609. (f) Security personnel working at a commercial nuclear power plant, including contract security personnel, trained and qualified under a security plan approved by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, are not peace officers under the laws of this state, except that such personnel have the powers of arrest, search, and seizure, including the powers under Section 9.51, Penal Code, while in the performance of their duties on the premises of a commercial nuclear power plant site or under agreements entered into with local law enforcement regarding areas surrounding the plant site. (g) In addition to the powers of arrest, search, and seizure under Subsection (a), a Special Agent of the Secret Service protecting a person described by 18 U.S.C. Section 3056(a) or investigating a threat against a person described by 18 U.S.C. Section 3056(a) has the powers of arrest, search, and seizure as to: (1) misdemeanor offenses under the laws of this state; and (2) any criminal offense under federal law. Added by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 543, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Renumbered from art. 2.121 and amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 503, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1987; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 854, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 841, Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 1989; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 927, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 1993; Subsec. (a) amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 717, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 1997; Subsec. (c) added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 290, Sec. 1, eff. May 26, 1997; Subsec. (a) amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 197, Sec. 1, eff. May 24, 1999; Subsec. (c) amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 863, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999; Subsec. (d) added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 197, Sec. 1, eff. May 24, 1999; added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 628, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999; Subsec. (e) relettered from subsec. (d) by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(7), eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Subsec. (f) added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1237, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.

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