How long can the police hold you in Georgia?

In Georgia, as in the rest of the United States, the police have specific guidelines regarding the detention of individuals. These guidelines are rooted in constitutional protections, notably the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth amendments, which safeguards against unreasonable searches and seizures. Holding you in detention for too long without legal justification constitutes a violation of your rights.

As soon as you are detained, you should immediately contact a Georgia criminal defense lawyer at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland. We can begin building a defense against any charges and ensure you are not held by law enforcement any longer than appropriate or necessary.

Initial Detention

During an initial encounter with law enforcement, an officer can detain you for a short period if they have reasonable suspicion you are involved in criminal activity. This period is typically brief and allows the officer to conduct a limited investigation to confirm or dispel their suspicions.

Arrest and Booking

If there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed, police officers can arrest you. Following an arrest in Georgia, you will be taken to a police station or a detention facility for booking. Here, you will be processed, which includes recording personal information, taking fingerprints, and conducting a search. This process should happen relatively quickly, though the process is determined by the jurisdiction, staffing issues, and shift changes.

Following an arrest, the police might want to hold you to gather more information before the prosecutor issues formal charges. However, they can only hold you for 72 hours in Georgia before formal charges are issued. This period decreases to 48 hours for warrantless arrests.

If you are not brought before a judge within these time periods, you should be released from detention. Keep in mind these periods do not include weekends or holidays when the court is not open. If you are held for an extended period without being charged, a habeas corpus petition can be filed by your criminal defense attorney.

Bail and Pretrial Detention

If the judge grants bail, it is a monetary amount that you must pay to be released from custody, with the understanding that you will return for your court date. If bail is not granted or you cannot afford to pay it, you can remain in custody while your case is pending.

In such cases, your criminal defense lawyer can represent you at a bail hearing. We can argue that the judge should reduce your bail (to an amount you can pay) or release you without bail. This ensures you can be at home and working during your case.

Even if a judge will not set bail or reduce your bail to a reasonable amount, you cannot sit in jail indefinitely waiting for your case to be resolved. The right to a speedy trial, guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, means that an accused person cannot be held indefinitely without trial. Your lawyer will uphold these rights for you when necessary.

Contact Our Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers Immediately

The criminal defense attorneys at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland keep your rights in mind when you are detained, and ensure you are not in jail longer than necessary. Contact us for assistance with your criminal matter.