Time limit to being held in jail
How long can police hold someone in jail without them being charged or indicted with a crime?
There is no hard and fast rule, but twenty-four hours is a generally accepted rule of thumb. If police hold someone for a longer period of time, they risk substantial liability for violating the civil rights of a person they've detained without probable cause. A person can only be detained if the police can articulate a suspicion that the detainee has engaged in criminal conduct, and they can only hold the detainee long enough to reasonably investigate. It's also worth knowing that the police can't hold a person while they investigate other leads. The confinement must be directly related to their investigation of the detainee. The other time limit to be concerned about is what happens after an arrest or indictment. In that case the rule of thumb is that an arraignment must follow within twenty-four hours, although that period may be extended for up to 72 hours with cause. Don't be surprised if police argue that a suspect was not actually being detained, and that the "person of interest" or "investigative lead" was free to leave at any time. To avoid this argument, if you are being held by the police you should ask directly if you are free to go.