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How Long Can the Police Detain Me?

If the police have ever pulled you over or stopped to ask you questions, you are probably wondering how long they can detain you. You must understand the difference between being arrested and detained.

Being detained does not mean the police will place you under arrest, but detainment is often the first step in the arrest process. Knowing what to expect can reduce some of your stress and prevent you from making costly mistakes along the way. When you face problems with the police or justice system, working with a caring and experienced defense attorney is the best way to protect yourself.

Police Detainment

This section goes into detail about police detainment and what you can expect. The police can detain you when they have a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime. While no set time limit exists, police are only allowed to detain you for a reasonable period while they conduct an investigation.

During the investigation, they will likely try asking you questions. Always politely inform the police that you don't answer questions without legal representation. If the police obtain probable cause that you committed a crime, they can arrest you. They will otherwise have to let you go.

Being Arrested

The police will let you know when you are being placed under arrest, and they will likely read your rights during the process. Unlike what most people believe, the law does not require them to read your rights to you. If they don't read your rights, they can't use anything you say against you at trial.

Never resist arrest even if you believe the police are acting without a valid reason, but you should verbally let them know that you do not answer questions and that you don't consent to any searches. After that, you must remain silent and do as they ask.

Court Hearings

Being arrested and taken to jail means you will have several court hearings to attend. The first one is usually on the next business day. If you are arrested on Friday, you have to wait until Monday to get your hearing. The first hearing is called your arraignment, and the judge will read the charges you are facing and ask you to enter a plea. No matter what evidence you believe the police have against you, always enter a plea of not guilty at your arraignment. Doing so gives you time to speak with a lawyer, but it also gives you a little leverage during plea negotiations.

Plea Agreements

Most criminal cases end in plea agreements long before going to trial. To save time, prosecutors will often offer to reduce your charges or promise a lesser sentence in exchange for a plea deal. In some situations, taking a plea deal is the smart move because it lets you avoid the risk of a long jail or prison sentence. But prosecutors will sometimes offer unfair deals even when they don't have a solid case.

How a Lawyer Can Help

A qualified criminal defense lawyer will review each aspect of your case and tell you what options are available. Your defense lawyer can point out any mistakes the police might have made along the way. When you have an experienced lawyer on your side, your legal expert will help you get the best possible plea deal. Your lawyer will also defend your rights in court if you are not happy with the plea agreement.

If you are facing criminal charges and want to give yourself the best odds of reaching a fair outcome, contact The Abt Law Firm today (678) 582-2272.

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