When you are arrested for a crime in Maryland (meaning either a police officer put handcuffs on you or you were arrested on a warrant), you will be seen by a District Court Commissioner a few hours after being arrested. If you are charged via a summons, a police officer will serve you a copy of your charges, but you won’t be arrested. If you’ve been served a summons, you don’t have to worry about bond.
A District Court Commissioner is a judicial officer who will quickly review your charges and decide whether to set a bond. For very serious charges like Murder and Sexual Offenses, the District Court Commissioner may not set a bond and you will be seen by a District Court judge. You can be released on Personal Recognizance (“PR”), which is a written promise to appear in court. A Commissioner can set a monetary bond, although these have fallen out of favor in the last few years in Maryland. For an example, if the Commissioner sets bond at $10,000, you or a loved one can deposit $10,000 in cash or pledge property with $10,000 in equity to the Court. When you come to court and your case is over, the money is returned to whoever posted it. You could also pay a private bondsperson a fee that’s a percentage of the bond to secure your release, but you won’t get that fee back when you come to court. Finally, the Commissioner can hold you without bond.
If you can’t make bond or the Commissioner doesn’t set bond, you will be seen by a District Court judge the next business day. This bond in Maryland review hearing is more formal. The judge can increase, decrease, or leave the bond where it was set by the Commissioner. The judge is supposed to consider whether someone is a flight risk and/or a danger to themselves or the community. Some jurisdictions have pre-trial monitoring programs (such as St. Mary’s or Prince George’s County).
The issue of bond is critical. Being incarcerated pre-trial will negatively impact your life and your case. It’s important to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to help with your bond situation. We often represent clients at bond reviews immediately after they’ve been charged. If you or a loved one is facing charges, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.