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

UPDATED: Mar 30, 2011

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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


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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