Can you be held in jail without knowing what you are charged with?

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Can you be held in jail without knowing what you are charged with?

My brother just served a year in the penitentiary for possession of drugs. About 2 days before he was to be released, the county picked him up and said he had a detainer. He was taken to the county and has been there without knowing what he is charged with, so far for 7 days. According to the records available on the internet, he has an indictment for 3 counts of heroin trafficking, from an indictment dated 8-25-10; for a crime dated 2-10-10. According to the internet he is set to be arraigned on Friday. He however has never personally been notified of any of this.

Asked on March 30, 2011 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Something doesn't correct in the fact pattern but it could simply be the prosecution got the indictment but had time to serve him and waited until just before release.  A person being indicted will not know the indictment comes down until arrest.  If he had a detainer, then that is when he would be notified.  Due diligence must be exercised by the prosecution but keep in mind it might be tolled when your brother was in jail. If you are concerned his constitutional rights are being ignored, you may wish to consult or have the family consult with an attorney or hire a private criminal defense attorney to represent your brother. He can also be represented by the public defender, but keep in mind the case load of the public defender and whether or not you expect an immediate response from him or her.


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