Law enforcement must charge suspects promptly

Law enforcement must charge suspects promptly

| May 19, 2020 | Firm News

Those who have been arrested in Arizona have constitutional rights that come into play the moment they are arrested. One of these rights is that prosecutors must inform them of the charges that they face within a reasonable amount of time after they have been apprehended. In most states, this must occur within 72 hours after the arrest.

This right originates from the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Suspects must not be held for an indefinite period of time before they are convicted unless certain exceptions apply. In addition, they must be able to mount the most vigorous defense that they can to the charges filed against them. Holding them without charge hampers their ability to defend themselves. Prosecutors have the ability to amend or add to the charges initially filed if new evidence emerges, so they cannot use that as an excuse not to charge.

If a suspect has been held for too long without charges, their attorney can file something called a writ of habeas corpus with the court. If the judge believes that the suspect is being held illegally, they can order the release of the suspect. Prosecutors are usually well aware of their deadline to charge the suspect, but states start the clock for charges at the time that the suspect is arrested by the police.

Those who have been arrested may want to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately once they are able to make a phone call. Being placed in the criminal justice system is stressful enough regardless of whether the defendant’s rights are respected. In many cases, individuals do not even know what their rights are, let alone know how to defend them. A criminal defense attorney may monitor the treatment of their client and make sure that their rights are not violated as they consider their options for defense.