WHAT IS BAIL? 3. Intangible Assets DO I NEED A LAWYER?
Bail is money paid to the court to ensure that Acceptable intangible assets include:
You are not required to have a lawyer. However,
an arrested person who is released from jail a. Bankbooks and certificates of deposit
a lawyer will offer you legal advice, help defend
will show up at all required court appearances. accepted at 100 percent of stated value
you and protect your interests before the court.
b. Letters of credit from a bank
WHO CAN POST BAIL FOR ME? c. Certificates for stocks listed on the
You may post bail for yourself, have someone American or New York Stock Exchange, HOW DO I GET A LAWYER?
over 18 years old post it on your behalf or accepted at 75 percent of the present If you wish to hire a lawyer but do not know one,
use a bondsman. Whoever posts bail for you exchange quotation. or if you wish to defend yourself but want to
assumes full responsibility for your appearance consult with a lawyer, the Lawyer Referral Service
in court. If you fail to appear as required, Only a clerk of the court may accept of the local Bar Association can help. Check the
a warrant will be issued for your immediate intangible assets; a commissioner may not. Yellow Pages under Lawyer Referral Service.
arrest and the bail will be forfeited. Present the required documents to a clerk at
the court location where the case is pending. If the offense is one that is punishable by
imprisonment and you want to hire a lawyer but
HOW CAN I POST BAIL? 4. Credit and Debit Cards cannot afford one, the state may supply
Bail may be posted in the following manner: Bail may be charged on certain credit and
debit cards. Although a commissioner or
you with a lawyer free of charge, if you meet
eligibility requirements. Contact the Office of the
1. Cash Bail clerk accepts the card, an independent Public Defender at 877-430-5187.
A percentage may be posted for cash bonds. company processes the charge. The charge Happens
All bonds that are set at two thousand, five includes the amount of the bail and a service
If you do not meet eligibility requirements for
hundred dollars ($2,500.) or less may be
posted with a cash deposit of ten percent
fee. (These charges will appear on your next
a public defender, many organizations and law When You
credit or debit card statement.) The card and
(10%). However, the person posting cash bail firms provide free or low cost legal services.
is liable for the full amount. If you appear
personal identification must be produced in
person at the time of posting bail. (Contact
Contact the Maryland State Bar Association or Are Arrested
for trial or the charges are disposed of before a local bar association for assistance.
a District Court commissioner or clerk for
trial, the amount posted will be refunded. If
you do not appear, all cash posted will be
information on cards accepted and the fees
WHEN SHOULD I CONTACT A LAWYER? for a Crime?
forfeited and the full amount of bail becomes Immediately. Your lawyer will need time to
due. 5. Professional Bail Bondsman prepare your case for trial. If you have not hired
A bail bondsman charges a nonrefundable your own lawyer or contacted the public defender
2. Property Bail fee to post bail. In addition to the fee, the by the time of your trial, the judge can make you
Property (e.g. land or home) in Maryland bondsman may require collateral security or go to trial without a lawyer.
may be used to post bail, provided that the property to secure your release. Collateral
net equity in the property meets or exceeds The public defender may refuse your case
will be returned to the person who posted it
the amount of bail. To determine net equity if you apply with less than 10 working days
after disposition of the charges. The service
deduct any liens, mortgages or deeds of trust, before trial.
fee and collateral received must be displayed
and ground rent, capitalized at 6 percent, from on the bail bond form. Make certain that the It is your responsibility to obtain legal counsel.
the assessed value of the property. information is correct on the form, that you
Information contained in this brochure is intended to
receive a receipt and that you understand inform the public and not serve as legal advice. This
When posting property, you need to present
the action the bondsman may take if you fail brochure is subject to unscheduled and unannounced
tax bills, assessment notices, copies of a
to meet your obligations. revisions. Any reproduction of this material must be
recorded deed or other public records. Each authorized by the Office of the Chief Clerk of the District
person whose name appears on the tax bill Court of Maryland. For more information contact a clerk
must sign the form, unless a power of attorney For the telephone number of a bondsman at the District Court of Maryland or visit the the website
has been executed by one or both parties consult the Yellow Pages under the “Bail at: www.mdcourts.gov
authorizing another signature. Bonds.”
DC/CR 2BR (Rev. 6/2010)
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I AM ARRESTED? WHAT IS A PRELIMINARY HEARING? If your case is expunged, no public or Do I continue to pay fines during
After you are arrested, you will be taken A preliminary hearing is a proceeding held private agency or individual can use the appeal?
before a District Court commissioner in the District Court to determine if probable records of your arrest and/or trial against You must continue to make scheduled
you. You can request expungement: payment of court ordered fines and costs
who determines if probable cause exists to cause exists to charge you with a crime.
charge you. The commissioner You are not allowed to testify or to offer 1. If you are found not guilty, the charges unless the judge ordered that payment
are dismissed or the state’s attorney enters be stayed or that the full amount be paid
• ensures that you understand the charges evidence at the hearing, but you have the
a nol pros, you may file a Petition for
against you and the possible penalties right to hear the evidence against you and as a condition to forwarding the appeal.
Expungement (Form CC-DC/CR 72) after
• advises you of your right to an attorney to cross examine the state’s witness. three years from the date of disposition Requests for stay of payment must be
• advises you of your responsibilities in If the court finds no probable cause, or you may file the Petition immediately made in writing at the same time that you
obtaining an attorney charges may be dismissed. (However, the following the trial along with a General file your appeal.
• decides whether you should be detained state’s attorney may refile charges later.) Waiver and Release (Form CC-DC/CR 78).
or released pending trial 2. If you are placed on probation Am I still on probation during my
• and determines whether bail should be If you are charged with a felony or crime before judgment, you may petition for appeal?
set. which must be tried in circuit court and expungement three years after probation You must fulfill the terms and conditions
you have not been indicted by the grand was granted or discharged, whichever is of your probation, unless the judge has
You should provide the commissioner with jury, you have a right to a preliminary later. ordered a stay of probation. Requests for
any information requested. hearing. You must request one within 3. If your case is marked stet by the stay of probation must be made in writing
ten (10) days of your first appearance state’s attorney, you may petition for at the same time that you file your appeal.
WHAT COURT WILL HEAR MY CASE? expungement three years after the date of
before the commissioner. If you waive your
the stet. Will I be released during appeal?
The District Court hears most cases preliminary hearing, or if it is held and
4. If you are convicted of a nonviolent Your release depends upon the factual
the court finds there is sufficient probable criminal act and are pardoned by the
involving motor vehicle violations, criminal circumstances of the case and the ruling of
cause, the state’s attorney must file within governor, you may request an expungement
misdemeanors and certain felonies. The the judge. The District Court conforms with
thirty (30) days a charging document in the after five years, but not more than ten
circuit court hears cases involving serious the guidelines established by the Court
circuit court, enter a nol pros (unwilling to years, from the signing of the pardon.
felony crimes. of Appeals of Maryland to determine your
proceed) or stet (a stay of proceedings) in 5. You may also petition the court for
the District Court, or amend the charges so expungement at any time on a showing of confinement or release pending appeal.
WILL I BE TRIED BY A JURY? that they can be tried in the District Court.
Must I post new bail while my appeal
For further explanation regarding
A judge hears District Court cases and many is pending?
circuit court cases. However, you may WILL I HAVE A RECORD? expungements, please see Expungement
Original bail, if any, continues through an
Brochure (CC-DC/CR 72BR).
request a jury trial, if you face a charge Records will exist on all charges filed against appeal unless discharged by the judge.
punishable by imprisonment for more than you and the disposition of those charges, CAN I APPEAL A JUDGMENT ? If the judge sets an appeal bail greater
90 days. A written request for a jury trial including any convictions. You have a right to appeal a guilty judgment than the original bail, you must post an
should be filed fifteen (15) days before the entered in a District Court criminal or traffic additional bail to cover the increase.
scheduled trial date. Even if you are not convicted, court records case. You do not have a right to appeal if
will exist on the charges filed against you you have been placed on probation without Do I need a transcript for an appeal?
If your case is set for trial in the circuit and the result of the case. Additionally, the entry of a judgment. A transcript of the trial is not required in
court, you will be asked whether you want police agencies, the state’s attorney, or the criminal or traffic appeals. If you would
a jury trial when you are arraigned in the public defender may maintain records of How and when should I plan an appeal? like to have a recording of your District
court. your arrest and/or trial. Complete the Order for Appeal and file Court trial, you may have one upon
in the District Court within 30 days of payment of the cost.
Under certain conditions you can have all disposition. Pay circuit court costs. If
records pertaining to your case sealed and you cannot pay, speak with a clerk on the
made unavailable to the public through a procedures to have the fee waived.
process called expungement. The District Court has no power to grant
an extension of time for filing an Order of