You have been suspected of a crime, and the police showed up at your home in the middle of the day. Before you know it, your life is turned upside-down and you’re being whisked off to the police station, wondering when you’ll be able to clear things up for a crime you know you didn’t commit. Being arrested is one of the scariest and most confusing things you can ever go through, and the longer the police hold you in custody, the more confusing things get. Fortunately for you, the police can’t hold you forever. In fact, state laws and the Constitution itself dictates these laws.
Your Right to a Speedy Trial
The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial. But what is a speedy trial and how speedy is this? A “speedy trial” refers to the amount of time that the court is permitted to take waiting on trial after they arrest a defendant. This means that they can’t make you sit in a jail cell for weeks while you await trial. Usually, state laws determine how long this can be. As a general rule, this will usually be about 72 hours after charges are filed. One of the reasons for this is because of the anxiety and publicity that you could face after you have been charged formally.
What the Prosecution Will Do
In your case, the prosecutor will take a look at the events surrounding your case and make a decision on what charges should stick. Sometimes, you may be charged with one crime, but end up charged with a completely different crime by the time the trial is over. This is because of evidence that the prosecution will listen to along the way. If the prosecutor decides that he doesn’t have enough evidence to bring charges within the time limit, then legally you must be let go.
When you believe you are being unlawfully held for a long amount of time, you have the right to a writ of habeas corpus, which is an order issued by the court that instructs police to bring you to court so that a judge can decide if you are being held for an unlawfully long time. If you believe this is so, you have a right to speak to your attorney as soon as possible. Call us at The Law Office of Peter Blair to find out how we can help to ensure that your rights are not being broken.