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.

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Federal and State Law Limits How Long the Police Can Hold Someone After a Warrantless Arrest

The defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are often asked, “How long can the police hold you after an arrest?” Few people start their day expecting police contact, especially an arrest. Unfortunately, terrible and unexpected things happen, and someone might find themselves in police custody. When a person is arrested without a warrant for a felony or misdemeanor, they must be brought before a judge for arraignment or released without undue delay.

The requirement to promptly bring someone before a judge after a warrantless arrest is crucial for upholding key federal and state legal principles and rights. This process, known in Michigan as arraignment, ensures the protection of the individual’s due process rights under the Fifth Amendment, providing a judicial review to determine if there was probable cause for the arrest. It aligns with the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a speedy trial, preventing prolonged detention without formal charges or an opportunity to contest the arrest. Arraignment is also when the accused is formally informed of the charges and can begin to prepare a defense. Additionally, the judge will determine bail at the arraignment hearing, which is essential for determining whether the accused can be released from custody before trial. Prompt arraignment following a warrantless arrest is fundamental to maintaining fairness, transparency, and public trust in the justice system.

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 was reasonable. Exceptional circumstances must support anything exceeding that time. How long can police hold you without a formal charge? Currently, that time is 48 hours unless exceptional circumstances are involved.

Michigan Law Regarding Arraignment Following a Felony Arrest

When someone is arrested for a felony in Michigan, the law requires the police to take them before a judge or magistrate for arraignment without unnecessary delay. MCL §764.28 states:

Every person charged with a felony shall, without unnecessary delay after his arrest, be taken before a magistrate or other judicial officer and, after being informed as to his rights, shall be given an opportunity publicly to make any statement and answer any questions regarding the charge that he may desire to answer.

Seeking the Release of Someone Held in Custody

Suppose someone is arrested without a warrant for suspicion of committing a felony or misdemeanor. What can a lawyer do to help them? Here are some steps aggressive, experienced criminal defense lawyers, such as those with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., take to help clients under these circumstances:

  • Right to Remain Silent: One of the first things a lawyer will do when hired to represent someone under arrest is to ensure the client invokes their right to remain silent. It is essential that someone in police custody refuses to answer questions unless they are in the presence of their lawyer.
  • Negotiate for Release Pending a Warrant: An influential, respected defense attorney can negotiate with law enforcement and the prosecutor for a temporary release of the defendant pending issuance of a warrant. Suppose the prosecutor or police officer knows the attorney and respects them. In that case, it is more likely they will agree to a temporary release with an agreement to self-surrender when and if a warrant is issued.
  • File an Emergency Motion: In Michigan, someone under warrantless arrest must be brought before a judge or magistrate for a probable cause determination and arraignment without undue delay. If the government is dragging its feet or not handling the matter expeditiously, a lawyer can file an emergency motion for bond or their client’s release from detention.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding How Long the Police Can Hold Someone After a Warrantless Arrest

“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 it does. Having a creative, passionate, forward-thinking attorney to work for you would be best. 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 for greater than 48 hours?”

Someone in jail for over 48 hours is probably entitled to have a judge or magistrate set a bond or bail. Each case, county, charge, and circumstance is 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. If you voluntarily surrender with an experienced defense lawyer, you will not have to worry about how long the police can hold you before an arraignment.

“When can the police arrest someone without a warrant?”

The police can arrest and hold someone without a warrant for a misdemeanor or felony committed in their presence, if the police officer has probable cause to believe the person committed any of the following:

  • a crime punishable by greater than 92 days,
  • domestic violence,
  • PPO violations, and
  • no-contact violations of bond in domestic violence cases.
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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 an online 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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