When you are arrested, you likely want to know what you are being charged with. You probably want to move through the process as fast as possible so that you can move on with your life. But, what happens if you are arrested and held without charges? The answer to that might interest some of our readers.
The Constitution of the United States provides defendants with the right to a speedy trial. This means that under the Sixth Amendment, you can’t be held indefinitely without the prosecution pressing charges on you. In most cases, you can’t be held in custody for more than 72 hours without charges.
It is important to note that the Constitution doesn’t present any guidelines for the amount of time you can be detained without charges. Each state has specific laws that govern this. Still, if you feel that you have been detained longer than allowed by law, you should contact someone who can help you determine if that is the case. In some cases, you might have to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus that allows a judge to determine if you are being legally detained.
The reason why there are limits to how long you can be held without having formal charges placed against you is because the right to a speedy trial is meant to limit the amount of time you are incarcerated before you are charged.
Knowing your rights when you are facing charges, including theft charges, can help you ensure those rights are respected. If you have been detained or charged with a crime, you may have to assert your right to a speedy trial.
Source: FindLaw, “How Long May Police Hold Suspects Before Charges Must be Filed?,” accessed June 11, 2015