Under the US Constitution anyone charged of a crime must be granted what is known as due process of law. In simple terms this means that there are set rules in place that must be observed throughout the entire process. It is important to understand these rules and have an overview of criminal defense in Maryland. If you are accused of a crime and arrested in the state of Maryland, it is best to find a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. They will not only arrange for your release but also assure that your rights are protected during the entire legal process. If you can’t afford an attorney, the judge will appoint one for you at the time of your arraignment.
At your arraignment, you will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty to the criminal offense for which you have been charged. At this early point in the process, most defendants plead not guilty. If you decide to plead not guilty the judge will the set bond or what is commonly called bail. The bond can be paid in a number of ways, including cash or credit card, putting up property that meets or exceeds the amount of the required bond, or by use of a bail bondsman. In Maryland bail may also be met by the use of intangible assets such as stock certificates, or letters of credit. An overview of criminal defense in Maryland can help you protect your property and other assets.
If, after hearing all the evidence, the judge determines that there is sufficient probable cause to continue with your case, a trial date will be set and the matter will be tried before a jury or you may choose to have what is called a bench trial in which case there is no jury and the judge alone will determine the verdict.
It may also be possible for you to negotiate a plea with the prosecution to resolve the case without a trial. If you agree to plead guilty the prosecutor may agree to reduced charges or to drop certain charges or he may recommend a lesser sentence. If you are convicted and sentenced for the crime, you have the right to file an appeal. This process is not a retrial, but a thorough examination of court records to make certain you received a fair trial. You will have a specific amount of time to file for an appeal so it’s important to have an understanding and an overview of criminal defense in Maryland.