Important Deadlines In Criminal Cases

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If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you may wonder why your case is taking so long to proceed and if there is anything you can do to expedite it. The law in Louisiana outlines certain deadlines in a criminal case for the very purpose of ensuring defendants are treated fairly and do not experience unnecessary delays. Unfortunately, District Attorneys and local jails do not always comply with these laws, prolonging potential detention and your very freedom. Below, our Monroe criminal defense lawyer outlines what these deadlines are and what to do if you are being treated unfairly.

Determining Probable Cause

If the officer who arrested you did not have a warrant, they have 72 hours to bring you to court so a judge can determine if there was probable cause for the arrest. If they fail to do this, you should be released on your own recognizance, which is often referred to as a sign-out bond or O.R. bond. The courts almost always find that there was probable cause. Even if the state does not meet this deadline, you can still be prosecuted on the charges. Additionally, if the court finds there was not probable cause, the state can still submit new evidence and arrest you again.

Determining Eligibility for Court-Appointed Counsel

If you are not working with a Monroe criminal defense lawyer already at this point, you should be brought in front of a judge within 72 hours of your arrest. At this hearing, the judge will determine if you are eligible for court-appointed counsel. This hearing is often held at the same time as the probable cause hearing. Bail may also be set during this time. If you do not have this hearing within the deadline, you should be released on a sign-out bond.

The Arraignment

During an arraignment, you will hear the charges against you and enter your plea, which is usually ‘not guilty.’ Your arraignment must be scheduled within 30 days after the state has officially charged you with a crime. Being charged with a crime requires the District Attorney filing a bill of information or indictment, which carries its own deadlines based on the nature of the offense you are initially arrested for.

Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Monroe Can Protect Your Rights

While state law places the burden on the state to ensure they comply with legal deadlines, you typically have to prove that one has been missed or delayed. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our Monroe criminal defense lawyer can advise on the facts of your case, ensure your rights are upheld, and give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call us today at 318-594-3592 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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