Individuals in New Mexico have constitutional rights that come into play the moment that they are stopped by the police or apprehended. One of these rights is that they must be charged with a crime shortly after they are taken into custody. This is mandated by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Generally, the outer time limit for prosecutors to charge and arraign a suspect is 72 hours. Usually, charges will happen well in advance of that time. However, if the suspect has not been informed of the charges that they are facing within that time period, they have the ability to petition the court for their release. The judge will order it if they find that the suspect is being illegally held. Prosecutors are not obligated to stick with the charges that they originally filed, however. They can always add or subtract charges in the event that they discover new evidence or their thinking changes.

Criminal suspects may not be held indefinitely without charge. Otherwise, it would be akin to giving them a prison sentence before they had even been tried and convicted. Moreover, keeping a suspect in jail keeps them from being able to begin to defend themselves at trial. Moreover, being held indefinitely without charge can be anxiety-provoking for a suspect who is sitting in prison.

Those who have been arrested may want to contact a criminal defense attorney. Many people do not even know what their rights are after they have been arrested. An attorney does know the rights of an individual and may monitor the situation to ensure that these rights are not being violated. If they are, the lawyer may file a motion with the court to end whatever illegal conduct threatens their client’s constitutional rights.