So, hypothetically speaking here, you find yourself out late at night and you get into a little bit of trouble. The police show up and you are placed under arrest. You might wonder what’s going to happen to you after you’ve been cuffed and put into the squad car. You might also want to know how you can go about getting copies of your police report to defend yourself. We want you to know these things too, so we broke it down for you.
The Arrest Process in Maryland
Any person who is arrested and questioned by a law enforcement officer must be informed of their Miranda rights. The arresting officer reads your Miranda Warning after an arrest has been made and prior to any police questioning. The Miranda Warning says:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?”
After you are arrested, you will go through the standard arrest process. Police officers may perform a pat-down or a full search of your person to determine if you are concealing any weapons, stolen items, contraband or other evidence of a crime. You will then go through booking and have your first court appearance where you will have your arraignment and bail review hearing. Each step is explained below:
Citation or Booking Process
After you are arrested, you will immediately be taken to either a police station or a central processing unit. If you are cited, you will be released with a paper ordering you to appear in court on a specified date.
If you are booked, you will be required to give identification information, you will be fingerprinted and have your photograph taken. Depending on which jurisdiction you are in, you may be required to give a cheek swab for a DNA sample.
Afterward, you will be placed before a judicial officer, or “Commissioner,” who will decide whether or not you will be released.
If you are in Maryland, you will be appointed a lawyer for your appearance before the Commissioner or you may retain your own lawyer. In Washington D.C and in Federal Court, you have the option to retain an attorney or have an attorney appointed for you prior to your initial appearance before the Commissioner.
We highly recommend that you hire an attorney as soon as you can to represent you at your initial appearance. A prepared attorney is often able to reduce the bail bond or limit the conditions of release, saving you a substantial amount of money.
If you are not released, you will appear before a judge for your arraignment. During the arraignment, a prosecutor will present the charges or complaint against you.
Bail Review Hearing
Following your arraignment, you will have a bail review hearing. At this time, your bail will be set or you may be released on personal recognizance, which means you don’t pay bail but promise to make your court appearance. You will be appointed a lawyer for your bail review hearing in court if you are qualified. It is imperative that you show up on your court date. Failure to appear could bring many negative consequences, including the possibility of new and additional charges for contempt of court or violation of the Bail Reform Act (in D.C.).
How to Get Your Police Report in Maryland
If you are arrested in Maryland, you will receive a Statement of Charges which lays out some of the facts supporting the allegations against you. You are unable to get the police report at this first stage. Only after you hire an attorney will he or she be able to obtain copies of the police reports and evidence against you through a process known as Discovery.
At Houlon Berman, we strive to obtain this material as soon as possible so that we can review it with you in full detail. We believe that a more informed and prepared client will be able to make better decisions during the process, assist in his/her defense and better ensure the best possible outcome in the case.