What is release on expiration of terms?

portada libertad por vencimiento de terminos

On previous occasions we have dealt with the issue of freedom in Colombia, the existence of protection
protection mechanisms
when it is believed to be deprived of it, as well as of
alternatives for serving sentences that favor the
that favor the convicted person.

Following this thread on freedom, we would like to discuss in this opportunity the freedom by expiration of terms, a somewhat controversial guarantee, which seeks to provide freedom to Colombians under certain conditions.

What is release on expiration of terms?

Any person under investigation has the right to have his or her legal status determined, i.e., to be found innocent or guilty as soon as possible. In theory it sounds simple, but the reality is different.

With a judicial system like Colombia’s, which is so congested due to the immense amount of cases, and the large number of preventive detentions, the law, always seeking to benefit the people, designed the mechanism of release on expiration of terms.

This mechanism provides for the release of a person or group of persons who have been deprived of their liberty, on a preventive basis, for a certain amount of time, while due legal process is carried out against them, but that such process fails to resolve the situation of the accused.

The biggest problem with this guarantee, is that it ends up being fulfilled due to the lack of competent personnel who can intervene in the cases, according to statistics presented by the Excellence in Justice Corporation for 2017 “…in the country there were 11.2 judges per 100,000 inhabitants, as well as 10 prosecutors and 9 public defenders, for the same number of people“.

When can release on expiration of terms be applied?

Freedom due to expiration of terms, is regulated in Article 317 of
Article 317 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This article specifies the cases in which the accused or the accused may be released:

  1. When after sixty (60) days from the date of indictment the indictment has not been filed or preclusion has not been requested, in accordance with the provisions of Article 294.
  2. When after one hundred and twenty (120) days from the date of filing of the indictment, the trial hearing has not begun.
  3. When after one hundred and fifty (150) days from the date of commencement of the trial hearing, the hearing for the reading of the judgment or its equivalent has not been held.

The same article also specifies that, these times will be increased by the same initial term, when “the proceeding is before the specialized criminal justice system, or there are three (3) or more defendants or accused persons, or the investigation or trial involves acts of corruption referred to in Law 1474 of 2011 or any of the conducts set forth in Title IV of Book Two of Law 599 of 2000.“.

As you can see, release on expiration of terms is another of the guarantees that Colombians have to protect their freedom, although it is a guarantee that still presents failures, due to the lack of capacity to resolve cases, it still lacks a more concrete definition by Congress.

In legal service, we are experts in criminal law, and we can verify the expiration of the terms to help you request the release for expiration of terms, if you want to know more about our services and want to schedule an appointment, you can contact us by doing
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