Experienced Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyers - Atkinson Law for Comprehensive Bail Review Representation
Bail Review Representation in Maryland
Atkinson Law is your trusted Maryland criminal defense law firm proudly servicing White Marsh, Maryland and surrounding areas in Central Maryland.
Our founding Father’s wrote that a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This concept is extremely important when looking at pretrial detention. Prior to 2017, a Judge would use a monetary bond system depending on the severity of the crime. In practice, it was not the danger that the Defendant posed to public safety but rather their resources or family’s resources that enabled the accused to go home. Those without financial resources sat in jail while awaiting trial. The consequences were that many that were detained pre-trial would take a guilty plea for time served in order to get out of jail.
Understanding the Maryland Bail Review Process Is Key
When a client is arrested and charged with a crime, the first Judicial Officer that the Defendant will see is the District Court Commissioner who will advise the Defendant of their right to an attorney, set initial pre-trial release conditions. Sometimes by statute, the Defendant is held over for a bail review hearing typically the next day before a District Court Judge. Other times, the Defendant is held over for Bail Review by the District Court Commissioner’s discretion where the Commissioner makes a finding as to whether the Defendant is a threat for a flight risk, a danger to public safety, or is likely to re-offend.
At the Bail Review, the Judge considers the evidence in light most favorable to the State and conducts a de novo review of the District Court Commissioner’s decision. The Court reviews application for the statement of charges, the Defendant’s criminal history and the threat of public safety in determining whether or not the Defendant is going to be released. The District Court Judge’s decision regarding bail or denial of bail may be reviewed by a Circuit Court Judge through certain mechanisms including but not limited to a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. The Petition of Writ of Habeas Corpus, evolved from English Common Law and later by the framers of the Constitution that allows a Defendant to Petition the Court alleging unlawful detention.
Factors to Consider in The Maryland Bail Review Process
Considerations for the bail review Judge to consider include:
Assessing the Defendant as a flight risk, including reviewing the client’s ties to the comunity;
Threat to public safety; and
Whether the client is likely to reoffend.
The analysis for flight risk includes the length of incarceration the Defendant may be facing upon a conviction, the length and strength of the Defendant’s residency in the State and local jurisdiction. In addition in assessing flight risk, the Judge will consider whether the Defendant is facing any collateral consequences that arise from the new charges such as parole and probation violations.
The analysis for determining a threat to public safety includes but is not limited to whether the Defendant poses a threat to public safety if they were released into the community. This can be general or victim specific depending on the nature of the offense.
The analysis for determining if a Defendant is likely to reoffend takes into consideration the Defendant’s criminal history and a deeper dive into prior convictions.
Post-2107 Shift: Maryland’s Move Away from Cash Bail
In 2017, Maryland shifted away from the cash bail system. Today rather than setting bail at amounts higher than the poor could afford, toward more of a pre-trial supervision system. Pre-trial supervision can include a Supervising agent that the Defendant reports to in person or via telephone. Mechanisms such as home detention or GPS monitoring may be used to ensure that the Defendant is remaining at home or traveling to and from work only. In the context of a domestic assault case, GPS monitoring may also ensure that Defendant is not going to the residence, place of employment or any other prohibited area that the alleged victim may frequent.
Home Detention may be either through a private home detention company or through the local detention center if that facility has a home detention unit. As skilled lawyer can assist their client in becoming prequalified for home detention prior to bail review.
How the Atkinson Law Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help
At Atkinson Law, we have the legal knowledge and expertise to navigate the complexities of bail laws and procedures. We assess the specific circumstances of the case and argue for the most pretrial release conditions including requesting that a Defendant be released on his own recognizance, be placed on pre-trial supervision or advocating for an affordable bail. Our attorneys review will review the charges, interview the Defendant and present any mitigating factors for the bail review Judge to consider. We have been doing this for over 20 years. Let us put our experience to work for you. Contact us today at 410-882-9595 to schedule a consultation.