Prince George’s County Arrests
Knowing your legal options after an indictment could make the difference in court. An experienced attorney could help you understand Prince George’s County arrests and what you could do to better your future options.
How Indictments Work in Prince George’s County Criminal Cases
Indictments are done in front of and issued by a grand jury. Testimonies are given by all officers and other witnesses in front of a grand jury, and the grand jury hands back an indictment. Indictments do not always look the same as those initial charges in the district court, so it is important for defense attorneys to know both the details of the indictment and the initial charges. Attorneys should know about all the evidence provided, including whether the indictment included information from witnesses or just the word of an officer. Indicted people typically receive a notice from the circuit court that they have been indicted and are to be brought before a judge after being arrested. The first appearance is called an arraignment, and the person may or may not have an attorney present with them at this appearance. They will be advised of their rights by a judge, advised of the charges that they face, advised of the penalties that they face, and told that they have an absolute right to an attorney.
Circumstances in which a Person May Be Indicted Before an Arrest
For major felonies involving an extensive investigation, especially drug cases that include controlled sales and wiretaps, the state may present a person with an indictment before arresting them. This is usually so that they do not alert the other people that they are investigating.
A substantial portion of the time when dealing with major felonies in Prince George’s County, the prosecution is going to try to get that case indicted and will arrest the charged person. It is rare that a summons is issued but it is possible that the person may have to appear for an arraignment. Most of the time, the individual will be brought in front of the commissioner and judge, will be arraigned, and have a bond consideration at the same time.
The Time Period Leading Up to an Arrest
In the period of time leading up to arrest, a person could expect that the Prince George’s County Police, Sheriff, Maryland State Police, and local officers are going to be doing their investigative work. Prince George’s County Police Department has a number of resources, agencies, and criminal investigations units. They will attempt to investigate everything about the case. They have been known to investigate drug cases and prostitution rings heavily, and they invest heavily into these types of investigations. When they have pressed charges and are moving forward with a case, and when attorneys enter the case, the police often have likely extensive resource and information available.
How a Person Knows They Might Be Arrested
Usually, people do not know that they are going to be arrested before it happens. This is because the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office does not want to tip off wanted people and create a flight risk. People who know they are going to be arrested may wish to flee the state or country.
Regardless, if someone is contacted by a detective looking for information about a case, at which time they need to call an attorney. The attorney’s job is to stop that line of questioning and learn all the details of the case, including the ways in which it may affect the client.
In some circumstantial instances, attorneys often develop or cultivate a relationship with officers or detectives and may be given information about an arrest warrant being issued. That is one way a person may know that they are about to be arrested before being served the arrest warrant.
Rights a Person Has Prior to Arrest
Before being arrested, a person has the right to remain silent. Anything they say can be used against them in the court of law. This is part of the Miranda Rights that should be told to the person as they are arrested. Often, it is best to remain silent when questioned by police. If arrested, a person should say nothing, ask for their lawyer, make a phone call, and use a public defender or panel attorney to be released on bond. If that does not work, they should get a private attorney involved. A private attorney could try other ways of getting the person released on bond. Regardless, arrested people should not make statements. A report of those statements is going into the hands of the state’s attorney who will likely later prosecute them.
Miranda Rights Explained
Miranda Rights are the rights that most people know from television and are told to people when they are arrested. They include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Less well known is a Miranda Warning, which is a notification. Even in the investigation phase, people could refuse questions and refuse to provide information to law enforcement. When interacting with police, Miranda Rights should apply immediately.
A person should be advised of their rights right away when they are served a warrant because that is part of an official investigation. However, Miranda Rights do not apply immediately in situations such as being pulled over while driving. If the officer needs to perform a field sobriety test or claims that they smell alcohol or marijuana in the car, Miranda Rights are not going to apply in those cases.
The United States Supreme Court has upheld Miranda Rights, and they exist for a reason. Any information a person gives to law enforcement can be used against them in court, so they should be mindful of what they say and should remain silent when possible.
No matter how simple the question is, the person should say nothing at all. They should not fight against police officers and should cooperate, but they do not have to say anything.
Common Misconceptions of Miranda Rights
The biggest common misconception about Miranda Rights is that they always apply. In fact, Miranda Rights do not always apply to every situation. An officer does not have to advise a person of Miranda Rights before asking whether they have had anything to drink or if they know how fast they were driving.
These are questions they could ask at a person’s door, but if the officer comes into the person’s home and arrests them, then Miranda Rights would apply. The person should ask for a lawyer, and then the officers are supposed to stop asking questions until the lawyer is present. If they do not, they may violate the person’s Miranda Rights.
The Arrest Process in Prince George’s County
If a person is arrested in Prince George’s County, they will be taken to a local station or barrack, processed through the detention center, and brought in front of the commissioner. The commissioner’s job is to advise them of their rights, advise them of their charges and their maximum penalties, and then advise them of their right to counsel.
The other job of the commissioner is to determine if a person should be released on bond, on home detention, or at all. For minor misdemeanors, they may be released on their own recognizance. In some cases, a person could be released on an unsecured bond, which is usually $5,000 or $10,000. As long as they show up in court, they do not owe that amount. If they fail to appear, the State of Maryland will find a way to get that money from them.
People who have been arrested should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Doing so could allow an attorney more time to draft defense, assess evidence and witnesses, and confer options to potential clients.
Who is Qualified to Make Arrests?
There are numerous departments and agencies that are qualified to make an arrest in Prince George’s County. In addition to local and state police, there is the criminal investigation division and narcotics enforcement division, a special operations division, the office of the chief, a training and education division, and other entities that could press charges against a person. The special investigations divisions are involved in a number of operations, as with criminal investigations division, and they support district police.
The Sheriff’s Office has arrest power as well, and so does the University of Maryland under certain circumstances. Since there are so many agencies that could arrest people in their homes, cars, or on public or private property, it is important for lawyers to look into which specific agency made the arrest.
Mistakes to Avoid During Arrest
The two most common mistakes to avoid during the arrest process are talking to law enforcement and resisting arrest. The person should comply with orders given by law enforcement without talking unless their lawyer is present to advise them. By resisting, they may add more charges to their tally and could be held in jail while their trial is ongoing, making it much more difficult for lawyers to communicate with them and build a strong case. By talking without a lawyer present, they may weaken their case by providing statements to police that incriminate them or may be used by the prosecution to hinder their case.
Surrendering Before an Arrest
In most cases, especially with higher level felonies, there is no warning before an arrest. Therefore, an individual will not have time to surrender themselves prior to being arrested. In some cases, attorneys have been able to work with investigating officers, learn when an arrest is in the process, and arrange a turn-in date for the defendant. This could look better for the defendant, but it might only happen when the investigating team is amicable to the idea. In Maryland, anyone going in front of the commissioner for arraignment absolutely has the right to a public defender or a panel attorney to help them through their initial bond hearing. When a person has an attorney, the results may be better than if they tried to defend themselves without help.
How Surrendering Might Help a Person’s Case
A person may want to turn themselves in if they are made aware of an impending arrest because it shows cooperation and good character. In the long run, turning oneself in and complying with an investigation could show the judge or commissioner that the individual acted professionally and is not a public safety risk. It could show that the defendant is not a flight risk, so they should be awarded bond or released on their own recognizance. After consulting with their attorney in Prince George’s County, an individual may turn themselves in because it might help their case and lower the risk of serious penalties if convicted.
Contact a Lawyer When Facing Prince George’s County Arrests
If you find that you are in need of a defense attorney, hiring the right one could make the difference in court. An experienced attorney could explain how Prince George’s County arrests work and what your options in the near future might look like. Reach out today to learn more about your rights and how an attorney could fight for you.