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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Happens in Maryland When You Are Arrested for a Crime?

Q: What happens in Maryland when you are arrested for crime?

After you are arrested you will be taken to either the local precinct or state police barracks.  Once at the barracks or the police precinct the police officer(s) conduct the booking process.  The booking process entails you providing basic information about yourself, your fingerprints, and photograph (this may also include photographs of any tattoos).  In addition, the police may decide to ask you questions regarding the alleged crime.  You don't have to answer any questions, you have the right to request the presence of an criminal attorney and questioning should cease. If they do decide to ask you questions, the police are required to read you your Miranda rights or Miranda warning.
Maryland Criminal Lawyers

Although the U.S. Supreme Court did not provide standard language for the Miranda warning, it did provide guidelines for what police should inform an individual.  The Court said, "...The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he or she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says will be used against that person in court; the person must be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he or she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent her or him."

Once the booking procedures are completed you'll be taken before a Maryland District Court Commissioner to determine if probable cause exists to charge you.

The District Court Commissioner will also advise you of a number of rights and advisements, those rights and advisements include:
1) that you understand the charges that are filed against you;
2) that you understand the maximum penalties and fines for those charges;
3) advising of your right to an attorney and that you must obtain an criminal attorney on your own;
4) whether you will be detained or released pending trial; and
5) if you are going to be released at that time the commissioner will set the initial bail.

If the Commissioner has denied bail then you'll be transported to the local detention center to await the next step of the criminal prosecution. If the commissioner has denied bail, there are a number of legal procedures our office can perform to request a new bail for a defendant.  If you haven't done so already, you should contact a Maryland criminal lawyer as soon as possible. If you are going to be detained in a local attention center pending trial, contacting family or friend and have them make contact with a criminal defense attorney in Maryland.  You can contact our office at 410.288.2900 as soon as you're arrested for legal advice.  

If a bail has been set by the Commissioner, and you believe the bail is reasonable then you have a number of options to be released.
Bail Lawyer Maryland

Q:  How can I post bail in a Maryland criminal case?

Bail can be posted in five different ways in Maryland, you can post bail by using a professional bail bonds company, credit and debit cards, intangible assets, property bail, or cash bail.

If you decide to use a professional bail bondsman the bail bonds will charge a nonrefundable fee to post bail. Typically in Maryland, most bail bondsman charged 10% of the bail amount. However some of the better bail bonds companies will charge a 1% fee to be released immediately and allow you to pay the other 9% back over time. In addition to the nonrefundable fee a bond company may require collateral security or properties to secure the release. That collateral will be returned to the person who posted the bond at the dispositional charges. If you are in need of a bail bondsman contact Got Bail at 410-574-3939.

Bail may also be charged on a credit card or debit card and the details of using a credit and debit card to post bail may be obtained from the District Court Commissioner or clerk's office. The clerk of the court may also accept intangible assets including bank books and certificates of deposit (CD), letters of credit from a bank, or certificates for stock listed on the American or New York Stock Exchange.

Property bail may also be used for the release of an individual. Property includes land our home in Maryland and the net equity of the property must meet or exceed the total about the bail. The clerk of court will be able assist in valuing the lander home for the purposes of posting bail.

Bails that are set at $2500 or less may be posted with the cash deposit of 10%. The post the person posting the cash bail is liable for the full amount if the defendant does appear for trial.  If the discharges are disposed of before trial trial the amount posted will be refunded.  If the defendant does not appear for trial all the cash was post will be forfeited to the clerk of court and the full amount of bail becomes due that case

If you've been charged with a motor vehicle violation, misdemeanor or certain felonies your case be heard in the District Court of Maryland. If you've been charged with a serious felony in your case would be heard in the Circuit Court.

If your case is going to be heard in the District Court of Maryland, the court date will be set for you depending on the volume of cases in that District Court. Typically cases are set anywhere from one month to four months after the arrest. Because the cases could be set so soon, is important to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as you are charged. This allowed the attorney time to prepare the case, complete legal research, and negotiate with the State's Attorney's Office.

If your cases will be heard in the Circuit Court of Maryland then you have a number of options after you been arrested. If you're charged with a felony you have the right to request a preliminary hearing. The request must be in writing and must be submitted to the clerk of court within 10 days of your first appearance before the commissioner. When you appear for a bail review hearing you will be asked if you would like to request a preliminary hearing. You should always request the preliminary hearing. The purposes of the preliminary hearing is for a Judge to determine if there is probable cause to proceed with the charges you are facing.

Preliminary hearings are not an opportunity for the defendant to testify or offer evidence. Is merely a chance for the State's Attorney to question the witnesses and the court to determine if there is probable cause to proceed.

If the court finds no probable cause charges may be dismissed, however the State's Attorney may refile charges later. If you are charged with a felony or crime that may be tried in the Circuit Court it is possible that the State's Attorney's office could take your case before a grand jury to be indicted. A grand jury is a hearing is held in secret, where the defendant is not present, and the state will request the witnesses to testify before the grand jury to determine if probable cause exists proceed with the case.

If you waive a preliminary hearing, or it is held in the court finds there's sufficient probable cause, the state's Attorney must file within 30 days a charging document with the Court. The state also has the option of entering a nolle prosequi or stet or amend the charges so that the District District Court retains jurisdiction in the case and it can be tried in the District Court.

If you have been charged with felony in the Circuit Court, the next event is an arraignment. An arraignment date is set where you will appear before a Judge in the Circuit Court. The Judge will advise you of the charges, the maximum penalty for those charges, and your right to an attorney.

Q: Do I need a criminal lawyer to represent me in a criminal matter in Maryland? 

Although you're not required to have a lawyer it would be foolish to proceed without one.  You wouldn't perform surgery without a surgeon, why got to Court without a criminal defense lawyer.

Once you have been arraigned, the next step of the process is to conduct a motions hearing and the trial. If you are facing charges in the Circuit Court, you have a right to a jury trial.  If your case is being heard in the District Court and you are facing a penalty of more than 90 days for one of the charges, you have a right to a jury trial.  Both the motions hearing and the trial are extremely complicated events and you should seek the advice of an experienced criminal law attorney to proceed.

Although this is not an exhaustive list of the procedures after you been arrested, it should provide some insight into what will happen if you are arrested in Maryland and charged with a criminal offense.

How do you obtain a criminal lawyer? Contact the Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice Jr., LLC, at 410-288-2900. Our years of experience and knowledge of Maryland criminal law will help provide the best possible defense in your case. We are proven Maryland trial attorneys who have handled thousands and thousands of DUI/DWI and criminal law cases. We have helped thousands of Maryland residents resolve their criminal law cases.

We are available 24/7 to answer all of your criminal law questions of Maryland.

Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice, Jr., LLC
Main Office:
6914 Holabird Avenue, Suite A
Baltimore, Maryland 21222-1747

By Appointment Only:
101 E. Chesapeake Avenue, Suite 200
Towson, Maryland 21286

Office: 410-288-2900
Facsimile: 410-288-2988