Maryland DUI Arraignment

In Maryland, an arraignment for DUIs and most other misdemeanors constitutes formal notification of the charges against the defendant and their right to an attorney, plus a trial date. The magistrate judge will determine whether there is probable cause to hold the person and then determine what conditions of release, if any, to impose.

If you are facing a Maryland DUI arraignment, consider speaking with a knowledgeable attorney. An attorney could champion your case.

Individuals are Required to appear at the Arraignment

If a person does not show up for a DUI arraignment in Maryland, they will receive a bench warrant for their arrest. The US Constitution requires that a person must be notified of the charges against them and their right to an attorney. In return, the court requires the person come to court and be present so they could be formally notified. If they do not show up, they are not fulfilling that court order to appear. The court typically imposes a sanction.

How Maryland Judges Tend to Handle a DUI Arraignment

The facts surrounding the DUI case typically determines the manner in which a judge deals with the arraignment. The judge may release the person on their own recognizance, without bond, if:

  • The person has no prior DUI offenses or if there are no aggravating factors
  • There was no accident
  • No one injured
  • The defendant was relatively cooperative
  • The accused’s blood alcohol level was not notably high

A judge may order the defendant not to drive with alcohol in their system or not to drive at all. A person’s bond may be set between $1,000 and $3,000 if they had a high BAC, or if had a suspended license or other issue on their driving record. If there was a serious accident, and the person was combative with law enforcement or alleged to have been, the bond could be up to $5,000 or more. A lot may hinge on the initial judge and the jurisdiction.

Various Pleas a Person May Make While Being Arraigned

When being arraigned, a person could plead not guilty. If so, the judge will select a new court date, the case will proceed, and the state will have to turn over discovery items. The defense attorney and the prosecutor could contact each other to negotiate potential plea offers. If a person enters a plea of guilty at the arraignment, the judge will ask questions of the defendant to ensure that the plea was entered knowingly and voluntarily. If the judge is satisfied, they will accept the plea.

Presenting Complaints During the Arraignment

The DUI case will not conclude at the Maryland arraignment. Since it is only the first step, a person should be patient. If they have legitimate issues or complaints with the way they were stopped or arrested, or with other aspects of their case. While defendants may have a chance to be heard and present any legitimate issues or complaints with the way they were stopped or arrested to the court at the trial, this may not be possible in the arraignment.

Role of an Attorney During an Arraignment

A lawyer could be present to speak on behalf of the defendant. If it has not already occurred, an attorney could assist the accused enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendant. The lawyer also may ensure that any paperwork that needs to be turned over is turned over, will assert for the record all of the defendant’s rights before the judge, and may negotiate to make sure that the next court date is one that works for the defendant.

A person’s legal counsel could make formal demands for certain pieces of evidence so that if the state does not comply with the request, the attorney will have a strong argument to either keep that evidence out of court or impose other sanctions on the prosecutor. If the person is in custody, the attorney may also argue for the defendant’s release either without bond or with a low bond or different pretrial conditions.