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Can a person remain locked up without being indicted or with out having a preliminary hearing based on a drug complaint

Bronx, NY |

so a family memember is currently in federal jail based on a drug complaint for almost a month. He has not recieved a preliminary hearing nor been indicted as yet. I guess because of his pass he is having a difficult time obtaining bail. I try to ask advice from a private law firm since his appointed lawyer does not return our phone calls and i was told his case is "sealed" which is a bad situation and it would cost 75000 to fight. My question is what are the guidlines of being locked up in federal jail with no hearing and no indictment for almost a month. I would also what doe sit really mean for a case to be sealed based on a complaint and what are the possible outcomes of this situation? any advice is appreciated.

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Attorney answers 2


Federal Rule 5.1 requires that in custody defendants who appeared before a magistrate on a complaint, must be afforded a preliminary hearing within 14 days. A defendant, however, can waive the 14 days requirement and consent to remaining in custody pending indictment or disposition. While it may seem counterintuitive that a defendant would want to waive a hearing or consent to being detained, there are situations where this can be in a defendant's interest, such as when a defendant is hoping to become a cooperating witness for the goverment.

If you family member has an appointed lawyer, he should be keeping in contact with the immediate family and he should not be telling you it will cost 75k to fight the case, as appointed lawyers are prohibitted from soliciting any fees. Perhaps, he was simply telling you how much it might cost to retain a private lawyer for this type of case?

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.


Tom Kenniff



Thank you Mr. Kenniff. I was told from a private lawyer it would cost 75000 to fight his case. I have not spoken to his appointed lawyer as he does not return our calls. However, I was also tolf from this private lawyer that his case is sealed and that it means it is a bad situatiuon. do you have any idea what does that mean, a case being sealed that no one can see what is going on?


Your family member's court appointed lawyer should be answering this question. The issue may be that the court appointed attorney has not been given permission, from his client, to speak to you about the case. If your family member wants you to be getting updates on his case from the attorney, you could ask the lawyer to give you a consent form that you would have signed by your family member-- authorizing the attorney to speak to you. If you still cannot get answers, and if your family member feels the same, you may want to consider hiring private counsel. But, be wary of inexpensive private attorneys as well. It is not unusual to see fees hovering between thirty-five and ninety thousand dollars for competent private counsel, depending on the case. So I don't think the price quote you received of seventy-five thousand dollars was necessarily unreasonable.

As we don't know enough about your case, you should not consider my answer to be legal advice. You would need to consult with an attorney at length and include details about what has occurred in order to adequately assess your criminal exposure.

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