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Arraignments and Initial Appearances in Maryland DUI Court

Arraignments and initial appearances in Maryland DUI court are usually scheduled times where a judge advises an individual of the criminal charges and the maximum penalties they carry.

During the initial appearance, the judge also advises the individual of the right to counsel and tells the person how important it is to have a Maryland DUI attorney assist them as the charges are serious and carry the possibility of a period of incarceration.

The judge may also set a court or trial date during that first introduction. If the trial date for their impaired driving case is scheduled and the individual decides to appear at the trial date without an attorney, they could be deemed to waive their right to counsel and be forced to proceed without a lawyer.

Appearance Rights and Requirements

Generally, the initial appearance takes place a few days after a person is charged and could be up to a month or so after a person was originally charged with an offense. Usually, initial appearances are required when a person is served by citation and not formally processed.

When someone is served by citation for arraignments and initial appearances in Maryland DUI court they are not advised of their right to counsel by a police officer. The court feels it is important to inform the individual that they do have rights to counsel and to an understanding of their charges within their first appearance in court.

Role of the Judge

Generally, a judge presides over the initial appearance for the Maryland DUI case as does a representative from the state attorney’s office. The charges are not litigated at this time so full defenses are not required by the time the initial hearing takes place.

The first appearance with a judge is an opportunity to make sure that the person understands the charges alleged against them and their right to counsel and the importance of counsel to assist the person with the charges.

The judge who presides over the initial appearance informs the individual of their right to counsel and of their charges and the maximum penalties associated with those charges.The judge does not necessarily preside over the remainder of the case.

Arraignment

Arraignments and initial appearances in Maryland DUI court are similar. An arraignment is an opportunity for a person to be notified of the charges alleged against them and to make their initial determinations about the plea they want to enter. As a blanket rule, people are encouraged to enter a plea of not guilty at the time of arraignment to begin the process of discovery.

An arraignment in Maryland usually takes place almost immediately after a person is charged with a DUI, but it is unusual that there is much information about the allegations against them. The defense attorney has likely not had an opportunity to talk to the person about all the defenses available in the case.

It is important to take the opportunity to learn about the individual’s charges and enter a plea of not guilty until the person and their attorney get more information through discovery and investigation.

Bond Hearing

Between a person’s arrest and their arraignment, determinations are made about their bond. They are seen by a commissioner or judge to determine what bond should be issued if any, and what release conditions might be necessary for a case. The arraignment takes place at a court date several days later.

At an arraignment for DUI charges, the judge usually explains the charges and the maximum penalties associated with those charges. The judge also asks the person how they plead to the charges against them to begin the process.

Judges usually do not set bail for DUI cases at arraignments and initial appearances in Maryland DUI court. Bail is usually set in advance of an arraignment or an initial appearance. For that reason, those two things do not usually coincide with each other. The bail for a DUI case is generally a low amount if bail is required.

Appearing at an Arraignment

Arraignments and initial appearances in Maryland DUI court are scheduled court dates. Just like any other court date, judges advise the person of the charges brought against them and make sure that they receive copies of their charging documents.

Procedurally speaking, it is important for a person to appear at their arraignment so the judge can make sure that appropriate procedures are followed and verified and the person’s rights, with respect to those procedures, are not violated. If a person does not appear at those proceedings, the judge issues a warrant for their arrest.

An attorney can advise an individual of how to plead and make the appropriate demands to the court with respect to the arraignment; specifically for a speedy trial as well as for discovery to be provided by the state.

Impact of Various Pleas  

An individual can enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at their arraignment. When someone enters a plea of guilty the judge proceeds to sentencing right away. Generally, that is not the advisable route because an arraignment takes place so close to the time criminal charges are brought. 

It is unusual that there would be any discussion of defenses or a thorough investigation of the charges at that time. It is always the advice of counsel to enter a plea of not guilty so the state can be compelled to provide discovery to the defense and the appropriate steps can be taken to investigate the matter. A Maryland DUI lawyer will want to discuss the arraignment and initial appearance in Maryland DUI court in order to prepare an appropriate defense on behalf of their client.

A Maryland DUI lawyer will want to discuss the arraignment and initial appearance in Maryland DUI court in order to prepare an appropriate defense on behalf of their client.