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Understanding bail and pretrial release in Maryland

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Criminal Defense

In Maryland, bail serves as a way for defendants to secure their release from custody while awaiting trial. Its purpose is to ensure defendants appear in court for their scheduled hearings.

Bail can be in the form of cash, property or a bond. A bond promises to pay the full amount if the defendant fails to appear in court.

Factors considered

Maryland courts consider various factors when determining bail, including the severity of the charges, the defendant’s criminal history, ties to the community and flight risk. Judges have discretion in setting amounts and may impose conditions, such as surrendering passports or avoiding contact with certain individuals.

Types of bail

In Maryland, the defendant usually has two options: bail bonds and cash bail. Cash bail means the defendant must pay the full amount in cash or with a cashier’s check. Bail bonds, on the other hand, involve working with a bail bondsman who posts the money on behalf of the defendant for a fee, typically around 10% of the total amount.

Pretrial release programs

Maryland also offers pretrial release programs as an alternative to bail for defendants who cannot afford it. These programs assess the defendant’s risk level and may release them on their recognizance or under supervision with conditions such as check-ins, drug testing or electronic monitoring.

Violation of conditions

When a defendant violates bail conditions, such as failing to appear in court, they may face consequences such as forfeiture of bail, additional charges or revocation of pretrial release. Defendants need to comply with all conditions to avoid further legal troubles.

Seeking legal assistance

Navigating the bail process can be complex, and defendants may benefit from seeking guidance from legal professionals or organizations that assist with these things. Understanding one’s rights and options is important for ensuring a fair and just outcome in the criminal justice system.

By familiarizing themselves with the processes, defendants can navigate the legal system more effectively and advocate for their rights.