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Helpful Insights for the Legal Process

What Happens After You Are Charged in Maryland?

A Trusted Baltimore Criminal Defense Attorney Share His Knowledge

Many times a criminal defendant is not even aware that they have been charged in connection with a crime. They become aware that there is a problem when they are arrested by police or receive a summons in the mail indicating that there is a trial date. The commissioner is usually the determinative factor whether or not a summons or warrant will be issued. The charging officer and sometimes a state attorney also play a role.

When a complainant arrives at the commissioner’s office, they will describe the alleged severity of the circumstances. At the Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, our Baltimore criminal defense attorney will always advise that once a call has been placed from a detective or police indicating there is a warrant or they need to come down to the station, they will be arrested and put in jail.

There are certain types of cases that almost always require a warrant, such as:

When the warrant is issued, the warrant is given to the local police department and the “warrant squads” will attempt to serve the defendant. Sometimes they will come in the middle of the night, other times they will make routine stops at the house in order to lock the person up.

You need to have an attorney to determine what the status of a warrant and how it can be handled. Let our law firm advocate on your behalf. Call (443) 720-7419 as soon as possible.

What Happens if You Have a Warrant for Your Arrest?

A warrant is a declaration order from the state directing a police officer to arrest and take an individual into custody. They are then taken to the charging center such as “central booking” in Baltimore. Being arrested is a scary proposition to a lot of people. Many people who find out they have a warrant contact our law office only to reveal they are scared to death. What they really want to know is whether or not everything is going to be okay.

Unfortunately, the mechanical process of the arrest and booking must occur. Most people find it more comforting to know that they have a lawyer in their corner. Our criminal defense lawyer knows people appreciate it when we set up a time for them to turn themselves in so that we can time the arrest and the booking process in a reasonable manner. That way, you can have all your ducks in order as far as bail and timing your ability to get out of jail.

Typically, what we will do is speak to the arresting officer or the detective and make a deal where the person will turn themselves in at a particular time. Our firm suggests to do it early in the morning so that we can try to get them out just a few hours later. It’s important that you understand the process booking in a scenario with a warrant. Many times we can get someone turned in, booked and out within several hours. It simply depends upon the jurisdiction and the crimes alleged.

If, in fact, it is a summons issued then obviously you don’t need to worry about being locked up. The commissioner has deemed that it is an offense not worthy of issuing a warrant and the court issues you a summons demanding you to show up in the district court to face charges. A summons doesn’t make the case less serious, but generally, that is the thought process. It is extremely important to have our Baltimore criminal defense lawyer on your side during this period because they can assist you in navigating the process.

Setting Bail After Booking

After you are put in handcuffs, you are taken to the booking department. You may sit there for long period of time depending on how busy things are at the station. Once you are routinely booked, which includes fingerprinting and photographs, other information is obtained from you. In Maryland, each defendant has the right to be seen by a commissioner for a bail review within 24 hours. Generally, that occurs very shortly after the arrest. If you are in Baltimore City Central Booking, it can go into the second day or more.

A commissioner is someone who can:

  • Gather information from you
  • Assess the charges
  • Determine whether or not bail is appropriate.

The commissioner can deny bail, issue a surety bond (which means that an insurance company is involved in posting the bail), issue a high or low bail, or a cash bail. Commissioners, in some cases, can allow property to be posted in lieu of bail.

Up until a couple years ago, the so-called mini hearing in front of a commissioner was usually done with just the commissioner and the defendant. It was deemed of little consequence. Our lawyer believes this step can be very important to determine whether or not bail is given. Recently, lawyers have been allowed to attend these mini hearings with the commissioner. We think it’s helpful in many circumstances to be able to ask questions to about the process.

Work with a Defense Attorney After an Arrest

Many times, attempts to get the defendant out of jail prior to trial are simply fruitless because of the nature of the charges. The facts of the case and the defendant’s background, such as prior criminal history, as well as the nature of the crime alleged, will make that determination. Flight risk, public protection, and a determination if the defendant will show up is what the judge is pondering. Technically under the constitution, a defendant is deserving of a bail release, but not always. No matter what, you want to make sure that you are protected under the law.

Defend your rights the moment that you become aware of criminal charges against you. Our attorneys are ready to fight for you. Call the firm today at (443) 720-7419!

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For Those Accused of Crimes
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