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Maryland Federal Drug Case Arraignment

In addition to the heavy consequences Federal drug charges in Maryland can carry , the court process can be complicated, confusing, and difficult for those accused. As a result, it is vital to understand what is likely to take place and have a Maryland federal drug lawyer with you throughout the process. To learn more call and schedule a consultation today.

Federal vs. State Arraignments in Maryland

Federal cases are considered more serious for drug related offenses than they are in state court, and as a result the release conditions are more carefully determined.

A judge in federal court has a full investigation of a person conducted by one of the agents. A report is provided to the court and all attorneys before determining what release conditions are appropriate.

Additionally, in federal court, a person’s judge has release options that many state judges do not have, such as home detention and ankle monitors. Many state judges do not have access to these things or if they do have access to them, they choose not to exercise these options because they are inconvenient or too burdensome on the pre-trial services staff at the state court level.

In the Federal System, the judges conduct a more extensive hearing to determine whether release is appropriate, and on what conditions. They also have more resources available for monitoring the person if they decide that release is appropriate.

Where Arraignments Take Place?

Federal arraignments take place at the federal court responsible for a proceeding with the state. That is the Baltimore Federal Court House or the Greenbelt Federal Court House.

Arraignment Pleas

A person can enter a plea of not guilty. That means the person is telling the court they intend to have a trial on the charges and do not wish to accept responsibility for what is alleged against them. A plea of guilty means the person accepts responsibility for one or more of the acts alleged against them.

Usually at the initial arraignment stage in any case including federal cases, a plea of not guilty is entered by all defendants. At that point, the evidence the prosecution has or is able to present to the court has not been shared with the defense attorney. The defense attorney has not had an opportunity to review whether the government can support the charge alleged against their client with evidence.

That plea of not guilty is every person’s right when a charge is alleged against them. That is based on the presumption of innocence guaranteed to them by the United States Constitution. They carry that presumption of innocence with them to the trial where it is determined whether the plea of not guilty results in a finding of not guilty or a finding of guilty.

Importance of An Attorney When Pleaing

Constitutionally speaking, an individual can plea bargain without a lawyer, but it is not advised. An attorney understands procedure and the rules of evidence that determine whether something is admissible in court.

An attorney can be instrumental in helping someone determine defenses even if the person believes the evidence is so strong against them they cannot overcome a finding of guilt in a criminal case.

Bail and Bond Hearings

During an arraignment for a federal drug offense in Maryland, a judge will also determine whether or not a person should be released on bond. The factors the judge considers include the kind of offense that is alleged and the person’s criminal history, such as if the person has a lengthy criminal history, and the risk to their community if the person is released.

In addition these factors, the judge may also consider the nature of the offense and the severity of the offense. Someone charged with simple possession is treated very differently than someone charged with manufacturing and distribution because those allegations are far more serious.

Additionally, the question of whether someone is a flight risk is evaluated by the judge. Determining if someone is a flight risk is something that every judge takes into consideration because it is important to know that the individual will return to court to be heard or tried on the charge alleged against them.

Can Bond Be Changed After An Initial Determination?

In a federal drug case if it is determined someone will be held on bail or bond, it does not mean that the person cannot be released at some point during the course of case preparation.

Often, as evidence is investigated or released by the prosecution, arguments will come up for the defense as to weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. This can end up being instrumental in making a judge consider whether or not the initial bond was appropriate, and in some cases getting the individual released before trial.

Role of a Maryland Federal Drug Attorney

A Maryland federal drug lawyer can be helpful in explaining to the judge the circumstances of the case. They communicate to the judge important information about the person’s ties to the community, their employment history, and any mistakes in the person’s criminal record. The lawyer shares information to assure the judge that the person is not a flight risk or a danger to themselves or to the community; and the person will return to court for their criminal proceeding.