After you or a loved one is arrested in Maryland, the court commissioner and/or judge may require you or your family to pay bail before you can be released pending your trial date. Without proper representation, they may set the bail at a level that you and your family are unable to afford. I can often get a commissioner or judge to set a low or nonexistent bail bond amount, reduce bail that has previously been set too high, allow you an unsecured bond so you do not have to pay anything to get out of jail, or change the terms on which a bail bond must be paid so that the time between your arrest and your trial date doesn’t become a jail sentence.
How Bail is Set After Arrest
When someone is initially arrested, they are usually brought in front of a court commissioner at the jail for a bail hearing within 24 hours of the arrest. The court commissioner hears from both the government’s attorney, and your attorney, if you have one, before setting a bail amount. The State is regularly represented in bond hearings in front of court commissioners and may advocate for an unaffordable bail bond amount or for conditions of release that can be both costly to you and devastating to your family. If you have not paid whatever bail bond is required, you will be brought before a judge on the next court day.
The first hours after you are arrested are a critical time, as they may make the difference between sitting in jail for months awaiting trial, and being released within a few hours of your arrest. While I can get a bail review in front of a judge later if you already have had your case heard by a commissioner and a judge, involving me from the beginning will usually give me two chances in front of completely different decisionmakers within the first 48 hours to get you out of jail pending your trial date. Sometimes, commissioners are more willing to grant bail than a judge would be, making it all the more important to have an experienced, effective lawyer advocating for you in front of the court commissioner. If you think you may be arrested soon, it is in your best interest to engage my services immediately.
The best time to contact me about bail is before you see the commissioner, or even before you are arrested. I have successfully advocated for the release of many citizens charged with serious crimes with little or no bond required. Engaging my services before the hearing where the court commissioner sets bail gives me the chance to advocate on your behalf and make sure that you never have to go in front of a judge, who might raise the required bail bond amount. At the same time, if we get a particularly difficult court commissioner, or if your record or charges are particularly severe, we have a second chance to get you out on bail in front of a judge the next day.
You should have a lawyer to argue for the lowest possible bail. I can request a hearing and effectively argue that the judge should reduce the amount of bail required, or change the terms on which it must be paid to something you can manage. If the court does not set a reasonable bail, I can ask another judge to review the decision by filing an appeal or a writ of habeas corpus.
The court can sometimes provide the services that a bail bondsman would otherwise provide at no charge. Bail bonds are expensive, and the bail bondsman will keep the money at the end of the case. As your lawyer, I can sometimes arrange for the court to let you or your family pay the 10% that you would otherwise pay for a bail bond to the court. After the trial is over, you will get the money back, saving you the hassle and expense of paying for a bail bond.
I know that every minute counts when you or someone you love is in jail. Call me today at (301) 556-8709 so that we can get you and your family home as soon as possible.