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Time restrictions and holding defendants in jail

| Oct 1, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Being under arrest Georgia can be a stressful and frightening experience for anyone. During an arrest period, the person would need to know their rights, what to do before a hearing or trial, how arrest works and the release date. However, they cannot be held forever without charges.

Time limits for a speedy trial

The Sixth Amendment in the United States Constitution states that defendants have a right to a speedy trial, which implies that they must be tried for charges within a reasonable time frame. The attorney must decide if they want a case based on details that could be dropped or settled in or out of court.

While a defendant must be charged at some point, the Constitution does not specify a time period. Each state determines the time period, but in general, the prosecutor has 72 hours to name the charges.

Criteria that decides how long defendants are held

The Supreme Court enacts protections to keep defendants from staying in jail for lengthy times before conviction. Limiting the time prohibits additional anxiety, which could reduce the defendant’s ability to make a strong case.

A prosecuting attorney has a right to change the initial charges after the first decision. However, if a prosecutor doesn’t name charges in a time period, the defendant has to be released.

Writs of habeas corpus

In some cases, the defendant’s lawyer may need to get a writ of habeas corpus, a court order that says law enforcement must bring the defendant to the judge to decide if they are being legally held. During this proceeding, a judge may reduce the sentence, release the inmate or read a declaration of rights.

An arrest can disrupt daily life, and inmates should be treated fairly under law. If a defendant feels they got treated unfairly, a criminal defense attorney may be able to help them.