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Cops investigated a crime but haven't made an arrest? What's going on?

As odd as this question may first sound, people often become concerned when there is a delay between investigation and arrest. Many times a detective will talk with an individual, the individual may even confess to some crime, and the detective will leave without putting handcuffs on that individual. The lack of immediate action is often more maddening than being immediately arrested. What's taking so long? I just want to get it over with. Are they finding out about that other crime? What should I tell my family? Will they not arrest me?

While officers are in the business of investigating crimes and arresting individuals, most will want to make sure all the evidence is lined up before they make an arrest. This is especially true in major cases such as sex crimes and murder. Why wait? In Florida, once a person is arrested, their right to a speedy trial begins. This means that the state must bring a person to trial within 175 days for a felony and within 90 for a misdemeanor. If an officer needs more time to investigate, these time restraints may be too short to allow for the production of certain evidence.

So what are some reasons that an arrest may be put off? The most common reasons are that the invesigators have more witnesses to talk to or to check on alibis or any defenses that a suspect may have presented. There is also certain types of evidence that simply takes time to produce. For instance, when there is a serious DUI crash with injury, a blood sample can be taken from the drunk driver. This sample must be sent off to a lab to be evaluated for drugs or alcohol and this can take months to complete. In murder and sex cases, DNA can often make or break a case. DNA testing and analysis is lengthy and expensive and it may be difficult for the state to adequately prepare if the defendant demands a speedy trial.

If, after completing tests and investigation, detectives believe they have the right person and probable cause to arrest, they will get an arrest warrant from a judge and the person will then be arrested.

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