Assault Arrests in Maryland
If a person is arrested for an assault in Maryland, they are taken in front of a District Court commissioner, who will inform the person of what they have been charged with and what the maximum penalties are.
In these situations, it is important to remember that an experienced assault defense attorney can be contacted at any time. A person can contact an attorney before they are even arrested. If someone is under the belief that they will be arrested or investigated by police, they can and should contact an attorney immediately to discuss a course of action that will provide the strongest defense strategy down the road.
During this arrest process in Maryland for assault, the defendant will be told they have the right to have an attorney. The other job of the commissioner is to determine if this person will be released on their recognizance or should they be required to post bail in order to be released. The waiting period before being brought in front of the commissioner can be long. A person arrested might end up being held for several hours while waiting to see a commissioner. The waiting period is dependent on the schedule of the commissioner, and how many other people the commissioner has to see that particular day.
At the commissioner level, when a commissioner is deciding on the defendant’s bond, the defendant has the right to have an attorney present with them for that hearing, and the commissioner will give the person a chance to contact their attorney. Family and friends can also reach out to lawyers on behalf of the accused. A person arrested for assault in Maryland does not have to be the ones to directly speak with the attorney.
In Maryland assault cases that result in arrest, there is typically some sort of confrontation between two people that results in someone calling the police; this could be one of the participants in the confrontation or a bystander or witness. The police respond immediately, which starts the investigation. Once the police arrive on site, they will start separating people and trying to get people to give them statements about what happened.
They will also be looking for any injuries that someone has sustained. The police officers will photograph the injuries and document them in the police report, which will be used as evidence in the case. Depending on what the officers find when they get there and perform the initial investigation, they may decide to make an arrest on site. The arrested person would go through the booking process, be charged, and be seen by a commissioner.
Police officers may also arrive on site, perform an investigation, and decide they do not want to take out charges or make an arrest. In these situations, the police advise everyone involved that they have the right to go to the commissioner themselves and take out charges. Depending on the severity of the altercation in question, people sometimes do not go to the police about an assault that took place hours or even days before. At this point, police officers will still report it, but they will often not take out charges. The will instead tell the alleged victim to go to the commissioner and seek charges on their own.
Right to Remain Silent
If charged, the first thing someone must do is understand and exercise their right to remain silent. They cannot be compelled to speak with a police officer, and they should not choose to say anything at all because anything that they say can be used against them in their trial. There is often the temptation to want to speak to the police because people incorrectly assume that if they explain the situation from their own perspective, the police will understand and all will be forgotten. That is not the case. Instead, people usually end up hurting their own cases by saying something that makes it worse. If they have been arrested in an assault case, the officer has probable cause and has already gotten the charges, so it especially does not make sense for a person to agree to speak to a police officer at this stage in the process.
Right to an Attorney
An attorney is trained to speak to law enforcement on behalf and in defense of their clients when going through the process of a Maryland assault arrest, while it is the duty of law enforcement to try and build a case against the accused. Using an attorney as a buffer between the defendant and prosecution is key in achieving the optimal case results.
When charged, a person should make sure that they understand that they have the right to have an attorney present at every stage, including the initial appearance with the commissioner because it could make the difference between being released on their own recognizance or having to pay bail. Even if a person is completely innocent and knows they are mistakenly being charged, using a lawyer who is familiar with these kinds of proceedings to present the case at every stage is just as important.
Discretion in Jail
The next thing that is important for people to understand when charged is that if they are being held in a Maryland jail, all phone calls made on the telephones at the jails are recorded. No one should have conversations about their case on the telephone at the jail because they may unknowingly incriminate themselves. Many times, when the prosecution may not have had a strong case, people have made incriminating statements over the phone and those recordings were used as evidence. The best thing they can do is not discuss their case in any way with anybody, but it is particularly important to not say anything while being recorded on the phone.