What is the length of time after an arrest on criminal charges do they have to formally charge a person?

Asked over 5 years ago - Tampa, FL

my son was arrested on 4/22 but according to the courts has not been officially charged as of 5/20, we had heard from a friend whos son has been through the criminal courts that if they are not charged with in 21 days then the charges are to be dropped is this true

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Darren Mark Finebloom


    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyer agrees


    Answered . This is not correct. The 21 days is for those in custody and if they have not been charged they are entitled to a preliminary hearing. The State has 33 days to file charges or else your son will be released. If your son is out of custody the time limit to file charges is 90 days on a misdemeanor and 175 on a felony. There are always exceptions to these rules.
    Please contact me if you have any further questions.
    Darren Finebloom

  2. Aaron J. Slavin

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . I'm guessing your son's friend is not a lawyer? Once arrested, if you are in custody, the State will usually file charges within 21 days. If they don't file within 21 days, you have the right to a "preliminary hearing." If you are still in custody after 33 days, you can file a Motion for Mandatory Release. However, neither of these proceedings effect the State's ability to charge your son.

    Your son has a right to a speedy trial on a misdemeanor case within 90 days. If he was arrested for a felony, his speedy trial right is 175 days.

    I would need to know what he was arrested for? Misdemeanor or Felony? Is he still in custody or did he bond out?

    If you have any specific questions as it relates to your son's case, please contact my law firm. We handle all criminal matters throughout the Tampa Bay area.

    Good luck.

    Aaron J .Slavin, Esq.

  3. John M. Kaman


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Something is wrong here. Normally you can't be arrested unless you are charged with a crime. Anywhere from 48-72 hours after the arrest (not counting weekends and holidays) you have to be arraigned and told what the charges are. It makes no sense that your son has been in jail a month awaiting charges. Talk to an FL criminal lawyer.

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