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CA criminal law- I was arrested, booked and released from jail without seeing a magistrate what does this mean?

Napa, CA |

I was arrested for two misdemeanors under the influence of a controlled substance and assault. I am not on parole or probation. I have only been in trouble one time in 2004 for a misdemeanor offense. I was released from jail without ever seeing a judge. I was given no date to return to court. I was scheduled to appear in front of a judge while incarcerated but was told no at the last minute. I was told that the DA had until 6pm that day to file charges against me. He did not. So they released me. What does this mean? What are my rights ? Are my charges dropped or what? I am confused. Help. please

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Attorney answers 1


It simply means that the DA did not file the charges in time while you were in custody, so you were released as required by law. As a misdemeanor, the DA now has up to a year to file charges or they are forever barred.

Several things can happen now. The DA could file charges and request an arrest warrant. That warrant could be served, or it could pop up when you are stopped for a traffic ticket. You could then be arrested, or the officer could simply notify you of it, or give you a date to come to court. Police rarely come out to arrest on a misdemeanor warrant anymore.

The best thing to do is call the local or DA's office regularly to see if charges have been filed, or if a warrant has been issued. Probably the best approach is to consult with, or hire an attorney who can manage and work your case in this "pre-filing" phase. Of course, the DA might also decline to file charges for one reason or another, but I'm sure you would rather know than wait it out for a year, and an attorney will know how to get you this information.



It seems unreasonable to have to call the DA's Office periodically for up to three years to see if they refiled or issued a warrant . Not to mention a lot of law enforcement agencies dont give you that information over the phone .