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How Long Can You Be Held in Custody by Arizona Law Enforcement?

Posted on March 10, 2023 in Criminal Defense

If you get arrested by law enforcement in Arizona, it is critical to know your rights. Whether you committed the offense for which you have been arrested or not, you have the right to remain silent and have an attorney present during police questioning. You also have a variety of legal protections, including a state law that limits how long the police can hold you in custody without charging you to a maximum of 48 hours.

How Long Can the Police Hold Me in Custody?

In Arizona, state law determines how long a person can remain in police custody without being charged with a crime. It imposes a maximum limit of 48 hours of detainment unless formal charges are brought within this time. This time limit is in place to protect the public from being unfairly held or detained by law enforcement for excessive periods of time. 

The hold limit exists to force the police and the District Attorney’s office to decide if enough evidence exists to formally charge the suspect with a crime. It prevents a suspect from being held by law enforcement indefinitely while they search for enough evidence to bring criminal charges – or find loopholes or reasons for delays until they can charge a suspect with something.

Detainment does not necessarily mean being put behind bars; it can also mean being held in an interrogation room, police vehicle, holding area or anywhere else. If you have not been formally charged with a crime after 48 hours of detainment, the police lawfully must release you. Two days is the same time limit that applies to detainees in most other states, as well.

What Are My Rights if I’m Arrested and Questioned?

At the scene of your arrest, you have the right to remain silent. The only question you are legally required to answer is to give your name. Other than that, do not answer any questions asked by the police. The officer will most likely try to use your own words against you. Do your best to remain calm and nonviolent as you assert your Miranda rights. Politely decline to answer questions and repeat, “I want a lawyer,” until you are given the chance to call one

After being arrested, you will be brought to the law enforcement precinct in the county where you were arrested. At the precinct, you will be questioned by the police. You have the right to have a criminal defense attorney present during police interrogations. You should ask for one immediately. An attorney can help you know what to say and what not to say to the police to preserve your rights. 

Can I Be Arrested Again After Release?

 You are not necessarily in the clear after being released from detainment in Arizona. Even if you are not charged during the 48-hour hold period, you could be arrested again in the future and charged. New evidence may come to light that is enough to arrest you again on suspicion of the same crime. This is why it is important to contact an attorney as soon as you are arrested the first time to employ a strategy for the future.

You will have a criminal record that shows that you were arrested, even if you were not charged. If you had your mugshot taken, this photo will become part of public record. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to remove arrest information and mugshots from the internet without assistance from an attorney. A lawyer can help you request that your arrest record be set aside – Arizona’s version of record expungement.

Contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as you get arrested in Arizona. Regardless of the reason for your arrest, you are innocent until proven guilty. You must either be charged with a crime within 48 hours or released from detainment. A defense lawyer at AZ Defenders can help you protect your rights through every stage of the legal process.