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I Was Arrested, But No Criminal Charges Were Filed Against Me - Now What

Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2017 by Lizanne Padula.

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If you were arrested and you were released without criminal charges being filed against you, do not assume your ordeal is over and that charges will never be filed.

When Criminal Charges Have Not Yet Been Filed

After an arrest, some jurisdictions will file criminal charges quickly - sometimes prior to release or within days of the arrest. However, some jurisdictions wait to file formal charges. Many counties (especially King County) take months to file charges. Understand that the delay may be more indicative of an over-worked, under-staffed Prosecutor’s office than a decision not to file charges against you.

Consult with A Criminal Defense Attorney Before Charges Are Filed

After an arrest, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney right away. This is true even if formal charges have not yet been filed.

First, a criminal defense attorney knows what steps to take to preserve evidence you may need when the time comes to defend yourself. For example, videos are often destroyed after a month or two, or witnesses may move away or forget what happened. Time can erase evidence that you and your attorney will need to successfully defend you. Second, a criminal defense attorney can continually monitor your case and can find out immediately when charges are filed and what those charges are. Mounting a strong defense from the start helps ensure the best possible outcome in your case.

Just because criminal charges have not been filed right away does not mean they cannot file them in the future.

Limitations On When The State Can Bring Criminal Charges

Depending on the type of crime being charged, the prosecuting attorney’s office may or may not have a limitation on when it can bring criminal charges. For example, the State has two years to bring charges for a gross misdemeanor (RCW 9A.04.080(1)(i)). Alternatively, there are a number of crimes that the State may prosecute at anytime, including murder, homicide by abuse, arson if a death results, vehicular homicide, and vehicular assault if a death results (RCW 9A.04.080(1)(a)).

A delay in formal charges being filed against you does not indicate that an arrest or investigation has gone away or been forgotten.

The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC offer a free consultation. Use this consultation to get a free evaluation of what you should do right now. Afterwards, you may decide to act now and hire us or you may decide to wait. A meeting with us will make sure you are basing your decision on a solid analysis of the law and the facts, and not on fear or a desire to forget the experience ever happened.

We answer the phone 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366, email us at info@paduladefense.com, or fill out our online free consultation form today.

For over 20 years, Padula & Associates, LLC has been serving the people of King County, Snohomish County, Pierce County, Lewis County, and throughout Washington State with aggressive criminal defense services.