A right that might sound somewhat odd in Criminal Defense cases is the defendant’s right to a speedy arrest. What that basically means is that a defendant has a due process right under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be charged promptly with a crime under most circumstances. The reasons for this are straightforward. violent crimes Specifically, the greater the amount of time that goes by before a defendant is arrested, the greater the chance that various witnesses to the case will be more difficult to locate, or if they are located, they may not remember what occurred. Accordingly, there are motions that an accused can file in court alleging that his rights to a speedy arrest were violated when the Commonwealth takes their time bringing criminal charges. Specifically, this is the case where the Commonwealth delays making an arrest and later, after they finally make the arrest they are unable to specify with reasonable certainty the day that the crime occurred on. In addition to this, the defense must able to show that the delay resulted in the unavailability of possible exculpatory evidence.
In Criminal Defense cases there are also circumstances where a defendant’s right to a speedy arrest is not violated even when the government takes years to make the arrest. false statement to the police In order to determine whether the Commonwealth has unreasonably delayed the arrest of a suspect after the alleged crime has occurred, the courts try and balance the reasonableness of the delay against the prejudice to the defendant. There are certain circumstances where delay is permitted. Specifically, delay in making an arrest is permitted if the arrest is due to the actions of a confidential informant who made purchases of drugs from the defendant. The reason for this is that frequently confidential informants are making purchases from not just one drug dealer, but typically many. The theory is that once one defendant is arrested for drug sales made to a CI, that defendant will be able to determine who the CI is and will notify other drug dealers thereby endangering the life of the confidential informant. Contact the Lawyers at Kelly & Conte if you have questions about your right to a speedy arrest.