How Long Does It Take To Get Someone Released After Hiring An Attorney?
When someone gets arrested, they are taken to the county jail and processed through the booking process. This can take about thirty minutes, depending on the number of inmates ahead of them and the nature of the crime that they are charged with. It is also possible that there may be a strip search required and the staff needs the proper personnel in order to complete that. Once they are booked in, they wait to be seen by Pretrial Services. Either an attorney is going to arrive first to interview them for a personal bond, or they will have already been interviewed by Pretrial Services and the attorney will be able to pick up that information. The interview will take about 20 minutes to complete and it requires all of that person’s demographic information, their employer’s information, and any references who can verify that the person is responsible enough to return to court and can verify whether or not they have any mental health, alcohol, or drug issues.
Once the interview process is completed, that paperwork needs to be processed by Pretrial Services, which involves verifying information, pulling local and national criminal history data, and assessing risk to the community. This take a couple of hours. When the attorney gets involved, they will pick up the paperwork from Pretrial Services, if it has already been processed, and speed up the process. Once they have the paperwork, the attorney will take that information to the magistrate. Before the attorney is able to speak to the judge about the case, however, the probable cause affidavit has to have been turned in. The probable cause affidavit is the legal document that the police officer has to fill out after an arrest, which states the sufficient legal basis for that person being detained.
The timeline the police have to take the affidavit to the judge, before the person would have to be released for failure to provide a probable cause affidavit, on a misdemeanor, is 24 hours. On a felony, it is 48 hours. Typically, officers do not delay in turning the report in, unless they are concerned about protecting a victim or the community by keeping the defendant detained for a period of time. Once the probable cause affidavit is turned in, if there is not an attorney waiting to pick it up, then that defendant gets put on the list to be magistrated.
The magistrate takes a large batch of defendants into the courtroom and reads them their charges. The judge tells them what their bond is going to be set at and lets them know what their options are for how they can get released. The judge also informs the defendant of the nature of the charge against him and notifies the defendant of his constitutional rights, and asks if he wants a court-appointed attorney. They also tell them about any conditions that have been imposed, which are going to be required of them to comply with. Once this happens, an attorney can step in. If the attorney has already picked up the bond paperwork, then they can go talk to the magistrate about whether or not they are willing to release the person on a personal bond, knowing that the person has an attorney who is going to be making sure that they are complying with any conditions, and that they show up for court.
Typically, being magistrated takes about eight hours from the time of arrest, but depending on the charge and jail conditions it can take up to 48 hours. An attorney being involved early on can potentially speed up the process. Once the probable cause affidavit has been turned in by the arresting officer, but before the defendant has been magistrated, an attorney can speak with the magistrate and sign off on waiving the magistration process. Once that is done, the judge will immediately set a bond amount on the probable cause affidavit and the attorney can ask the judge for a personal bond. Usually, the probable cause affidavit will be turned in within the first three hours and will be available to the magistrate for the attorney to waive magistration on.
Once a bond is processed, it can take up to four hours, depending on how backed up the jail is, for the defendant to be released. The total process could take as long as 24 hours or possibly longer if it was a difficult case and the attorney was trying to contact multiple judges as they became available. It is also important to note that if there is an emergency protective order on the case, preventing the defendant from having any contact with the alleged victim, there is no possibility for the attorney to waive magistration. That person will need to wait to be magistrated by the judge, so that they can be served with that emergency protective order. In that circumstance, it will take longer for a person to be released, even with an attorney.
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