|Typically when a person is arrested for a crime, it usually happens at the most inopportune time. This process can be daunting to anyone not familiar with this facet of the legal system. Below is a brief overview of what someone caught in this situation or what someone bailing a person out of jail may expect.
What happens when a person is arrested?
When a person is arrested and taken into custody by a police officer they will be taken to a processing facility to get booked. Normally these processing facilities are based at police stations, detention centers or jails. Getting booked generally means that they will be fingerprinted, photographed and then wait to see a District Court Commissioner for their initial bail hearing. In Maryland a person arrested can legally be held up to twenty-four (24) hours before having their initial bail hearing.
What happens during the initial bail hearing?
An initial bail hearing is simply a brief meeting between the defendant and the District Court Commissioner. At the initial bail hearing the Court Commissioner shall:
(1) Advise Defendant of Charges.
The Court Commissioner shall inform the defendant of each offense with which the defendant is charged and of the allowable penalties, including mandatory penalties, if any, and shall provide the defendant with a copy of the charging document if the defendant does not already have one and one is then available. If one is not then available, the defendant shall be furnished with a copy as soon as possible.
(2) Advise Defendant of Right to Counsel.
The Court Commissioner shall require the defendant to read the notice to defendant required to be printed on charging documents in accordance with Rule 4-202 (a), or shall read the notice to a defendant who is unable for any reason to do so. A copy of the notice shall be furnished to a defendant who has not received a copy of the charging document. The Court Commissioner shall advise the defendant that if the defendant appears for trial without counsel, the court could determine that the defendant waived counsel and proceed to trial with the defendant unrepresented by counsel.
(3) Advise Defendant of Preliminary Hearing.
When a defendant has been charged with a felony that is not within the jurisdiction of the District Court and has not been indicted, the Court Commissioner shall advise the defendant of the right to have a preliminary hearing by a request made then or within ten days thereafter and that failure to make a timely request will result in the waiver of a preliminary hearing. If the defendant then requests a preliminary hearing, the Court Commissioner may either set its date and time or notify the defendant that the clerk will do so.
(4) Posting Bond for Defendant.
If a bail bond is required for your release, you should have your family / friends contact a bail bondsman who can explain in greater detail the requirements and exact terms involved to secure your release.