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Initial Appearance for Maryland DUI Charges

For the vast majority of people in Maryland charged with a DUI, they are issued a citation after they are arrested and processed at the police station and are free to go. A family member or a friend will have to pick them up from the police station, and the person is given a court date.

When they come back to court, that court date is a trial date although it is also their first appearance in court. If the person has not already been advised, the judge will advise them of the charges against them, advise them of the right to have an attorney, and the case is likely to be continued because the state usually has not yet turned over all the discovery. This is true even when the person has a lawyer already. There usually has not been time for a negotiation about a potential plea, and so the case will be continued.

If someone has an attorney, their attorney will go over that issue. They may show up to that first court date ready to go, knowing that they have a plea worked out. They may be ready to go to trial. At other times, the person may not be issued a citation and released from jail. If they are held, their first appearance will be in front of a magistrate judge to decide their bail.

For more information about your initial appearance for Maryland DUI charges, consult with an experienced DUI lawyer.

When are Where do Initial Appearances for a DUI Charge Take Place?

If a person is released with a citation after their DUI arrest, then their initial appearance is their first court date. Usually, that court date is about four to six weeks after the arrest. Sometimes, it is as little as three weeks after the arrest. In other cases, it can be as long as ten weeks after the arrest. If a person is held and is not released on a citation, they will be taken before a magistrate judge within about 24 hours of arrest.

If the person is released on citation and their initial appearance is their first court date, that court date is going to be in district court at the courthouse in the county or jurisdiction in which the person was charged. If the person is held and they go in front of a magistrate judge, that magistrate judge is usually located at the detention center within the jurisdiction. Usually, this is a part of a detention center or the courthouse where the person is held. Contact a knowledgeable defense attorney for more information.

Parties in Attendance for an Initial Appearance

If the person’s first court date is in district court, there will be a district court judge, a prosecutor, and an assistant state’s attorney from the state’s attorney’s office. If the person has retained a lawyer or has been assigned a public defender, then their attorney will be there. The initial appearance for Maryland DUI charges is considered a trial date, so any witnesses should be there as well.

The state should be prepared to go forward, so the witnesses such as the police officer or other civilian witnesses should be there. If the person is not released on citation but is held and goes before the magistrate judge and that is their initial appearance, then the defendant, the magistrate judge, a prosecutor representative and assistant state’s attorney, and the person’s attorney will be present. Usually, that is a panel attorney who is essentially on call and will be representing the person.

If the defendant is able to hire or has a private attorney who can show up and get there on time, then that attorney can be there as well. Sometimes, the prosecutor or the judge may be present via video, so they might not be physically present.

Role of the Judge at an Initial Appearance

If the person has been released on citation and their first appearance is their court date, then the judge will preside over the hearing. If it goes to trial, then the judge is going to decide the case. Usually, the case is not going to trial, and there are administrative issues to consider. One party or both parties may request a continuance. It will be up to the judge to decide whether or not to grant the continuance, but a continuance is typically requested at that first court date.

Almost always, the judge will grant the continuance to either side and certainly to the defense if they do not have an attorney. It is the first court date and may be the first time they are advised about their rights to an attorney. If the state is not prepared, some judges will hold the state accountable and will continue the case for the state to be prepared but, most of the time, at that first court date, if both parties cannot work it out, it will be postponed.

Call today to learn more about your initial appearance for Maryland DUI charges and how an attorney could assist you.

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