Held in Jail Pending Charges

The United States Supreme Court will decide a case regarding how long the police can hold a person in jail when arrested without a warrant.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney Team

Establishing probable cause while a suspect is under warrantless arrest.

The United States Supreme Court will decide the case of Bailey v City of Chicago this term. Eugene Bailey was detained for 23 days while police investigated his role in a schoolyard brawl that resulted in the death of another student. The prosecutor ultimately dropped charges against him. After the jail released him, Bailey sued the City of Chicago and two police officers for malicious prosecution, among other things. The trial court dismissed the action. The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal. The United States Supreme Court will decide if holding Mr. Bailey for 23 days while police tried to gather additional evidence to persuade the prosecutor to charge him was constitutional. Cases like these make people wonder how long the police can hold you in jail.

48-Hour Hold in Police Custody

Approximately 25 years ago, the United States Supreme Court in County of Riverside v McLaughlin decided that holding a person for 48 hours was reasonable before arraignment or release. Exceptional circumstances must support anything exceeding that time. In Bailey, United States  Supreme Court will review the 48-hour deadline from the earlier case based on technological advances in computers and fingerprint identification systems. Has technology made what was reasonable 25 years ago – now unreasonable?

How long can police hold you without a formal charge? Currently, that time is 48 hours unless exceptional circumstances are involved. However, the answer could change drastically depending on the decision of the United States Supreme Court. The current justices do lean towards being conservative. It will be interesting to see the court’s decision.

“How long can the police hold my loved one in jail?”

It takes creative, passionate, and forward-thinking attorneys to help make new laws and change a court’s thinking about a particular issue. Criminal law can change daily and sometimes actually does. It would be best if you had a creative, passionate, forward-thinking attorney to work for you. The law firm of LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are those lawyers. The firm’s attorneys take great pride in protecting their clients from the government overstepping its boundaries. The constitution is the lifeblood of our justice system, and its interpretation changes with the times. If your loved one is in jail, a zealous defense lawyer can seek their release at the earliest possible opportunity.

“Am I entitled to bond if the police hold me in jail past 48 hours?”

Someone held in jail past 48 hours is probably entitled to have a judge or magistrate set a bond or bail. Each case, county, charge, and circumstance are different, and there are no “cookie-cutter” answers that apply in all cases. A knowledgeable, experienced attorney will know how to get their client before a judge or magistrate for arraignment right away. If the attorney effectively argues for a bond, the judge or magistrate might agree to a personal recognizance bond that doesn’t require a cash payment.

“Can I avoid arrest if I face criminal charges?”

If you face criminal charges, you can likely avoid arrest by volunteering to self-surrender with a criminal defense lawyer. Most detectives and prosecutors agree to permit a defendant to voluntarily surrender on a warrant if they know respected counsel is working on their behalf. The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. developed a well-respected reputation with law enforcement agencies and prosecutors throughout Michigan. In almost all cases, detectives agree to permit our clients to voluntarily surrender for arraignment instead of facing an arrest and detainment.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney


The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are students of the constitution and are always looking for ways to use its protections to benefit our clients. If your freedom is at stake, you need to have the best legal representation available. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. takes the unique “team approach” in its representation of its clients. A client will get the benefit of input from multiple attorneys. The firm believes that “two heads are better than one” and will use that to always provide clients with the best ideas and best representation available.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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