Criminal Law

questions & answers

Question: Is there a 3 day release from jail if not charged rule? But if the jail lists charges on the inmate, doesn't that mean that they have been charged? And if the preliminary hearing is scheduled, doesn't that mean that they have been charged, but not necessarily indicted? On major methamphetamine trafficking charges, isn't it unlikely someone would get out on the above-mentioned 3 day "rule"? Without a bond? Just turned loose?

Answer: When a person is arrested they must see a judge or commissioner for an initial appearance within twenty-four hours of their arrest in Arizona. http://www.azdps.gov/Services/Crime_Victims/. The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that the accused has a right to a speedy trial. This means that the accused has a right to know if there will be a trial quickly, not that the actual trial will start quickly. There is no exact length of time that constitutes a speedy trial, but generally seventy-two hours has been the length of time that many believe is appropriate. However, in certain circumstances a longer investigation period is needed. Every state will have its own interpretation of how much time constitutes a speedy trial.

To see if criminal charges have been filed, go to the superior court website of the county where you live and search under information on a case or records and then type the name of the person or the case number. If charges have been filed they will be listed there.
There are two ways a felony charge is initiated. Charges can be brought by complaint or an indictment. If felony charges are brought by direct complaint there will be a preliminary hearing where the prosecutor will present evidence and the judge will determine whether there is enough probable cause for the defendant to stand trial. When there is an indictment, a grand jury consisting of 16 jurors will hear evidence from the prosecutor and determine if there is enough probable cause for the defendant to stand trial. In either case, if there is not enough evidence to determine probable cause, the charges will be dismissed. Even if the charges are dismissed, they will still remain on the person’s record.
(http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/CriminalDepartment/caseProcedures.asp)

There are a number of factors that a judge considers when determining whether a defendant should be released on his own recognizance or released on bail. If a defendant is released on his own recognizance he/she is generally not required to post money for bail or bond. A defendant who has committed a dangerous felony, has a past criminal record or has not returned after being released on his own recognizance before is generally required to post bail or bond.  Under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3967(B) (7), the possession, use or sale of a dangerous drug is a factor that a judge specifically uses to make a determination whether to release on recognizance or bail. The judge will look at this factor in conjunction with the other factors when making his/her determination. If the crime that was committed was very dangerous, it is less likely that a judge will release the defendant on his own recognizance or bail, but the judge is the person to make that decision and will look at the offense along with other factors. (A.R.S. 13-3967).

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QUESTIONS

  • Is there a 3 day release from jail if not charged rule? But if the jail lists charges on the inmate, doesn't that mean that they have been charged? And if the preliminary hearing is scheduled, doesn't that mean that they have been charged, but not necessarily indicted? On major methamphetamine trafficking charges, isn't it unlikely someone would get out on the above-mentioned 3 day "rule"? Without a bond? Just turned loose?

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