When a person has been arrested for a crime in Virginia, they can feel scared and uncertain. Law enforcement officials can be intimidating and it can often be hard to know what is currently going on with a person's case. One major question a person who has been recently arrested for a crime like assault may be wondering is how long it is going to take before the state files charges against him or her.
After someone is arrested, there is a time limit within which a prosecutor is required to bring charges. A person who has been arrested cannot be held without being charged for an unreasonable amount of time. Though it varies from state to state, prosecutors generally have 72 hours to decide if they will charge a person with a crime.
Within those 72 hours, prosecutors will review the details of the alleged crime. They will determine if there is enough evidence to charge a person with the crime. If a prosecutor is not able to find sufficient evidence to officially file charges, authorities are required to let the accused go free.
If a person has been arrested for a serious crime in Virginia, they may want to speak with a legal professional experienced in criminal law. An attorney who has experience in litigating assault or other violent crime cases will have knowledge of the laws that pertain to a defendant's unique situation. He or she will also be able to negotiate with the prosecution and make sure his or her client's rights are being protected.
Source: FindLaw, "How Long May Police Hold Suspects Before Charges Must be Filed?", Dec. 7, 2016