How long can the police detain you without pressing charges?
The police can detain you for questioning for up to 48 hours without pressing any charges. Some circumstances can allow the police to detain you for a longer period of time. These may include weekends or legal holidays.
This is a difficult situation, and many people do not know their rights when it comes to being detained by a police officer. In this article we will discuss what your rights are during a detention and how long the police can keep you in custody before pressing any formal charges against you.
Being Detained is Different from Being Arrested
Importantly, there is a huge difference between being detained and being arrested. While detained, the police may question you about a specific incident. When you ask the police whether you are free to leave, they will say “No.” You may not have committed a crime, but the police may still have suspicion of criminal activity.
Also, being detained means the police have not yet formally charged you with a crime. If arrested, the police are charging you with a crime. As a result, the police often detain a suspect so that they can perform an investigation. This will help the police learn whether they want to charge a suspect with a crime.
If charges are filed, you will be arrested.
You Still Have Rights if You Are Detained by the Police
If you are under arrest by the police, whether at home, a traffic stop, or elsewhere, then Miranda Rights do apply even if they haven’t already said so. The arresting officers or other law enforcement officials must read out important information before you answer any questions:
- Your right to remain silent;
- Anything you say may be used against you in the court of law; and
- You have the right to an attorney (if you cannot afford one, one will be appointed for you).
The detainment must happen on site and at that point in time. If police detain a suspect elsewhere for questioning, they are still obligated by law to read out these rights immediately. The detainment itself must be reasonable, as well.
Contact Kitay Law Offices if you have been Detained
If you have been detained by the police, contact Kitay Law Offices for help. The police may bring criminal charges against you in the near future. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side from the beginning can improve your chances of successfully fighting any charges.