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Criminal defendants must be charged promptly

On Behalf of | May 8, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

In Kentucky, there are limits on what prosecutors can do once a defendant is arrested. One of the main constraints on them is that they cannot hold a suspect indefinitely before they decide upon the charges that the person will face. This is a right that is afforded to them under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Generally, a prosecutor will need to make up their mind in short order after the suspect has been arrested. The person needs to be arraigned in court shortly after they are apprehended. This period is around 72 hours in most cases. Otherwise, a defendant can hire an attorney to file a writ of habeas corpus with the court. This seeks to have a judge rule that the defendant is being held unlawfully. This could mean that law enforcement has to let the defendant go home since they are being illegally held.

Not charging a defendant promptly can mean that they are being forced to serve a long jail sentence before they are even convicted. This is contrary to their constitutional rights. Delayed charges may also hamper a defendant’s ability to mount their best possible defense to the charges once they are filed. Defendants cannot be left to languish in jail indefinitely before the criminal justice system begins to work in their case.

Once someone has been arrested, they may need the help of a criminal defense attorney to help them navigate the justice system. Most people simply do not have the legal expertise to handle their own defense. A criminal defense attorney may help them seek a plea deal with the prosecutors that might result in a lower sentence. Many people simply do not know of their legal rights and require legal counsel to ensure that they are being treated properly by the system.