It is not uncommon for a person to be arrested on suspicion of having committed a crime and to be released without any formal charges filed against them. If you find yourself in this situation, it is still important to contact a lawyer immediately.
Just because law enforcement releases you without charging you does not mean that charges may not be filed in the future. The determination as to whether or not to file formal charges ultimately lies with the prosecutor’s office, and they may complete a lengthy pre-file investigation before coming to a final decision.
Understanding How Pre-File Investigations Work
When someone is accused of a crime, or the police otherwise believe they have probable cause, they may arrest the person and bring them into the police station. At this point, the accused may be subjected to lengthy periods of questioning. Being arrested for an alleged criminal offense can be extremely overwhelming, as the accused may be unsure of their legal rights and options.
An arrested person has the Constitutional right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer. It is essential to understand that even if someone is arrested for a crime, they do not have to speak to the police about the case without a lawyer present. Instead, they should exert their right to silence and ask for an attorney.
There are many cases in which a person is arrested on suspicion of a crime but released without charges. This does not mean that charges will not be filed in the future, nor does it mean that the police or the prosecutor’s office have stopped their investigation.
Holding Period in Arizona
As in other states, Arizona law imposes a specific holding period in which law enforcement can hold someone after an arrest without filing formal charges. In Arizona, the accused must be released if charges are not filed within 48 hours. However, as long as the statute of limitations for the alleged crime has not run out, the prosecutor’s office can work to build their case in anticipation of filing formal charges at a later date. This pre-file period can last anywhere from months to years.
When to Hire a Lawyer After an Arrest
There are multiple reasons to hire an attorney, even if no charges were filed after an arrest. For one, charges could still be filed in the future, and a private attorney can immediately get to work conducting their own pre-file investigation into the case.
A skilled defense attorney could protect the accused person’s Constitutional rights while working to reduce or contest any charges that may be filed in the future. In some cases, an attorney could bring evidence to stop charges from being filed altogether. A lawyer could also help with all phases of the case that may follow if charges are filed, from negotiating with the prosecutor’s office to handling court appearances to building the best possible defense.
Consult Our Attorneys Immediately After an Arrest
If you learn that you are the subject of an investigation or were recently arrested and then released without charges, that does not mean you should simply move on and wait for the prosecutor’s office to make a move. Now is the time to start working with an attorney to conduct a pre-file investigation and protect your rights.
An experienced criminal defense attorney at our firm could give you the best chance at a favorable outcome. Grand Canyon Law Group has an extensive background in conducting pre-file investigations and dealing with prosecutors handling these situations. Our legal team can explore all options to reduce or eliminate the charges against you. Call us today to schedule your one-on-one consultation.