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What to Do If Your Preliminary Hearing Is Delayed |

What to Do If Your Preliminary Hearing Is Delayed

In order to make a legal arrest, police must have a reasonable belief that the person they are arresting has committed a crime. This is called “probable cause.” A person arrested has a right to a speedy preliminary hearing, that is, a hearing to determine whether the police in fact had probable cause. If you have been arrested but have not had a preliminary hearing within a specified time, usually 24-48 hours, your South King County criminal law attorney can use several techniques to help you out.

Habeas Corpus. Your South King County criminal law attorney can try to obtain your release by filing a “writ of habeas corpus.” However, writing the briefs and scheduling the hearing takes time, and by the time that’s completed, you might have had a preliminary hearing. Instead, an effective South King County criminal law attorney might try calling the arresting officer or the officer’s commander, then going up the ladder to the assistant district attorney, the supervising prosecutor, and finally the judge or court clerk. The last call is to schedule the habeas corpus hearing. During that last call, your attorney should explain your case to the judge or clerk. The judge’s hope to avoid expensive litigation may cause him or her to schedule your preliminary hearing more quickly.

Civil Rights Action. Your attorney might consider warning the arresting officer, sheriff, and prosecutor that you intend to file a federal civil rights action. The warning should bring a quick response, because if you win, the defendants are liable for your attorney’s fees.

Suppression of Evidence. Even if you do not file a writ of habeas corpus or bring a civil rights action, there are still consequences for the prosecution for delaying your preliminary hearing. In many jurisdictions, confessions and other statements you make during the delay are not admissible as evidence.

Release on Bail. Your South King County criminal law attorney can bring up the delay to the judge during the bail argument. Judges often take the state’s delay tactics into account when deciding whether to release a defendant on bail.

If you or someone you love has been arrested, contact South King County criminal law attorney for a free evaluation of your case.