Attorney-Client Relationship: A relationship between a lawyer and the person he or she represents in which communications and correspondence are protected and private. A proper attorney-client relationship requires honesty and consistent communication between both parties.
Bail: Upon arrest, a Maryland commissioner often determines an appropriate bond for a person based on their criminal record, history of failure to appear, or potential for being a flight risk. The amount determined by the Maryland commissioner can be paid immediately. If a person is unable to pay, he will be brought before a judge within a reasonable amount of time, usually the next business day. Here, a Maryland District Court judge will weigh various factors to determine if a bond should be reduced or remain as set by the commissioner. Defendants are encouraged to be represented by counsel for this hearing.
Once a bail amount is set, friends or family members may post the bail amount on behalf of the defendant and he or she will be released pending his trial date. Often, the court will set conditions to release, such as mandatory reporting to a pre-trial services agent, mandatory drug or alcohol treatment, or monitoring by ankle bracelet. As long as a person returns for his court date, bail will be returned in the form in which it was posted.
Bail Bondsperson: When a defendant cannot come up with the money required to secure his release pending trial, a bail bondsperson can be an invaluable tool. Generally this person charges a fee (usually from 10 to 20% of the total bail amount) to the defendant in exchange for posting his bail. The defendant is still required to appear for his trial date but the fee paid to the bail bondsperson is not returned to the defendant.
Criminal Defense Attorney (Criminal Attorney): A lawyer who specializes in representing and defending clients who are under investigation or charged with a crime.
Preliminary Hearing: A preliminary hearing takes place in district court on felony cases to determine if the state has established probable cause to move forward. No testimony is taken from defendants or defense witnesses. Generally a police officer is simply required to establish probable cause by demonstrating to the court that sufficient evidence exists to proceed on the felony counts.
Preliminary Inquiry: In Maryland, every defendant must be advised of his right to counsel at trial. This is often done by the commissioner upon arrest or by a judge at a bond hearing. However, if a person is simply issued a citation, a preliminary inquiry date will be set by the court. The court will advise the defendant of his right to counsel on this date. If the defendant has already retained counsel to appear, this hearing will be cancelled.