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My case is in summary w/ probable cause I've posted bail & still no charges, How much time do they have to charge or return bail

Milwaukee, WI |
Attorney answers 3

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Generally, this refers to how the arrest paperwork was filled out in Milwaukee. "Summary" means an arrest for a new charge, as opposed to an arrest on either an arrest warrant or a bench warrant for a previously-charged offense. "Probable cause" refers to the fact that a court commissioner reviewed the arrest paperwork and found probable cause - this generally needs to occur within 48 hours of an arrest or the person must be released from custody. In Milwaukee County the practice is for that same court commissioner to then set bail after this "paper probable cause" review. Since you've bailed out, as the previous posts have indicated, the case will be referred to the DA's office for review and possible issuance of charges. At this point the statute of limitations is generally the only "deadline" they have, but in reality the DA will review the case and either issue something, "no process" it or "pend" it for further investigation. If you hire a lawyer now he or she may be able to figure out who's reviewing the case, intervene on your behalf and negotiate the issuance of charges. Sometimes they can be convinced not to issue any charges. Sometimes a diversion or deferred prosecution agreement can be negotiated up front. In other situations a misdemeanor can be negotiated on facts that could support a felony, etc.

Answers given are general in nature and not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Specific advice can always be obtained by contacting an attorney directly.


I am sorry, but this post does not make sense. What is "summary with probable cause?" Do you mean a preliminary hearing was held and probable cause was found? If so, the criminal complaint was already filed, and you are just waiting for formal charges.

If you posted bail and are waiting for formal charges, I am not aware of any time limits for charging you, other than the normal statutes of limitations. The statute of limitations for misdemeanors is 3 years, and the statute of limitations for felonies is 6 years.

Logically, of course, the more time passes, the more likely it will become difficult for the prosecutor to prove the case.

If you do not have an attorney, you need one on your side. The police are held to a higher standard when they enter your home, if they did so without a warrant.

If this is not the answer you are looking for, I suggest you repost and clarify your question.

Good luck!


I agree with the previous answer. They will either proceed toward charging you or refund the bond you are on within a month or so. They could refund the bond now and still charge you later, up to 3 years for most misdemeanors and up to 6 years later for most felonies (there are important exceptions to these general rules). I also strongly suggest hiring an attorney to discuss the case NOW even if they have not charged you. Sometimes an attorney can do his most important work before a charging decision is even made.

Good luck.

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