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How long does it usually take to be arrested after an embezzlement investigation?

Seattle, WA |

My former employer filed a police complaint for embezzlement against me six months ago. When can I expect to be arrested? Their insurance company has already paid a claim and I'm working with them on a repayment plan, but I feel like I'm in limbo waiting for the police. Any other advice on how to prepare? Unfortunately I don't have bail money, so I'm concerned about spending extended time in jail. It would be my first offense, for anything.

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

First off, it is unlikely that you would be arrested. But if you were, it is even more unlikely that a judge would set bail; instead, you would be released you on your personal recognizance.

The way it will most likely play out is that once the prosecutor reviews the police reports, they will make a decision on what to charge you with. That could take a while. When that happens, you will be sent a summons to appear for your arraignment, at which point you should plead ‘not-guilty.’ Make sure that the court has the proper address for you, because if you don't receive the summons and fail to appear for your arraignment, then a warrant will probably issue and then you very well may be arrested.

You may want to consider retaining an attorney at this point because there are some things that a lawyer can help with prior to a crime being charged. If you cannot afford it at this point, however, don't worry. It's not especially critical, just helpful. If you ultimately can't afford a lawyer when you are charged, you can get a public defender, but you are not entitled to representation until you are actually charged with the crime.

Unfortunately, it's kind of a waiting game right now. But the best thing to remember is to not talk with any authorities at all from here on out. Only talk about this case with the lawyer who ends up representing you.


The prosecuting attorney has up to 2 years (if it was a misdemeanor) or three years (for a felony) to file charges. Assuming the prosecutor has sufficient basis to file a charge, they could file anytime within that period.

Because an embezzlement charge is not a crime of violence and the perpetrator doesn't pose an immediate threat to society, it is not a high-priority crime to file right away. Because of budget cuts and staff reductions, I have seen a trend, at least in Pierce and King County, to wait anywhere from six months to just weeks before the statute of limitations runs before filing charges on non-violent criminal matters.

Considering your otherwise clean history, once you are charged, assuming you've lived in the area for awhile, you're probably not considered a flight risk, so it is unlikely you would be placed in custody while the resolution of your case is pending.

Responses to questions on AVVO does not establish an attorney -client relationship.


It may take up to a year to file a charge in this type of a case. This type of non-violent felony does not have high priority in this era of budget problems. It may be that the case is never filed. The usual rule that I give to my clients is that just when you think the case is never going to get filed and the timing couldn't be worse, you will receive a summons in the mail.
You are not likely to see the police arrive at your house and arrest you. This is not the type of case that would warrant such drastic action. You will likely receive a summons notifying you of a court date.

You should consult with an attorney if you can afford one, as these types of cases can usually be negotiated to a reasonable outcome, given your lack of criminal history. Jail time is not going to be your biggest problem.


Aside from the Statute of Limitations (2 to 3 years), there is no specified period of time that police and prosecutors must follow before bringing charges. It can be frustrating not knowing, but in your favor is the fact that you have already taken responsibility and are repaying the loss.

Remember, the police are not on your side no matter how nice they are. They are tasked with the charge of investigating the crime and arresting the perpetrator. Do not answer any of their questions. Exercise your right to remain silent and speak to a local attorney soon. Many will give you a free consultation. Good Luck!

The comments listed here do not create an attorney-client relationship. The comments are for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice. This attorney is only licensed in Michigan and does not give legal advice in any other state. All comments are to be considered conversational information and you should not rely on these comments as legal advice or in place of retaining an attorney of our own. The comments here are based solely on what you have provided and therefore are general in nature and with more specific facts or details a different answer or outcome could result. The legal system is not a perfect science and this attorney does not guarantee any outcome.

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