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Prisoner holding times and the right to receive a speedy trial

Every person accused of a crime will remain innocent until -- and only if -- he or she is proved to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt in court. However, when police arrest someone for allegedly committing a crime, the individual will temporarily lose the right to freedom.

In a lot of cases, suspected criminals can get released from jail and maintain their freedom until their trial concludes. However, there are also numerous instances when a court will continue to detain an accused person due to a flight risk or other reasons.

The United States Constitution and New York law limits the amount of time that an unconvicted person may be detained. The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees accused individuals the right to a speedy trial. The means that the time it takes to try someone accused of a crime must not exceed a "reasonable amount of time." However, the Constitution does not indicate how much time is reasonable.

In a general sense, prisoners should not be kept in custody for over 72 hours before formal charges are filed. The right to a speedy trial rule protects potentially innocent defendants from spending lengthy periods of time in jail prior to an actual conviction. Also, having a speedy trial will reduce the anxiety and publicity that defendants must endure while waiting for their trial proceedings to conclude.

Have your speedy trial rights been violated? Or, do you think that you or a loved one was held for too long without formal charges being filed? A New York civil rights attorney can evaluate your legal issue to clarify your legal rights and options.

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Sivin & Miller, LLP Attorneys at Law
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