How long can a person be held without going to trial?

Asked on November 8, 2014 under Criminal Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Texas does not have a specific timeline for how long someone can or should be held.  However, there are some guidelines that impact prolonging of cases.

First, if a defendant has been in jail for over 90 days and no indictment has been returned by a grand jury, then a defendant who cannot afford bail is entitled to be released on a personal recog bond-- which means they don't have to put up funds for their bond. 

Second, Texas does have a speedy trial act.  To invoke this right, a defendant must demand, in writing, his right to be tried as soon as possible.  If the case is not tried in the next few months because the state is not ready to proceed forward, then a judge is authorized to dismiss the charges against the defendant.  Keep in mind, that a defendant should NOT invoke this right unless they themselves are ready to proceed forward.  Once invoked, many judges are reluctant to grant a defendant any continuances to find witnesses or to have evidence tested.  Before invoking this right, a defendant should visit with their attorney about the progress of their case to insure that they are not hindering important aspects of investigation related to their case or defense of their case.

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