Do You Have to Appear for a Preliminary Inquiry in Maryland?

Get Your Free ConsultationView Results

You’ve been issued a citation or summons in Maryland and the officer told you appear for a preliminary inquiry within 3 days before a commissioner.

If you have to appear for a preliminary inquiry or you have been charged with a crime or traffic citation in Maryland, call attorney Randolph Rice for immediate legal help and to schedule a free consultation at (410) 694-7291

A preliminary inquiry is the first contact you will have with the court system.  At the preliminary inquiry the commissioner will advise you:

  1. You have a right to hire a lawyer and you should hire an attorney soon than later;
  2. The crimes you have been charged with;
  3. The maximum penalties for the crimes or traffic offenses you have been charged with;
  4. They may give you a trial date;
  5. They may give you paperwork for your case, like the Statement of probation cause.

Will I be arrested when I appear for the preliminary inquiry in Maryland?

If you have to appear for a preliminary inquiry, then you will not be arrested.  The preliminary inquiry is conducted between you and a court commissioner.  The court commissioner does not have the right or duty to arrest you. That is not to say they wouldn’t inform the police that you are at their office if you have an open warrant for an unrelated matter.  But, if you are merely showing up within the 3 days after you made contact with the police, then you will not be arrested.

Where do I go if I have to appear before a commissioner for a preliminary inquiry?

You must appear before a commissioner in the county or city for Baltimore City where you were charged.  For example, if you were charged in Baltimore County, you must appear in one of the three commissioner offices located in the District Courts for Baltimore County.  Click here for a list of Maryland commissioner office locations.

What happens if I can’t appear within 3 days for the preliminary inquiry?

If you cannot make the preliminary inquiry within 3 days of the receipt of your citation(s) or summons then you can hire an attorney to file an entry of appearance and you will not have to appear for the preliminary inquiry.  Once a lawyer tells the court that he will be representing you, then they do not need to serve you with the paperwork or advice you on your right to a lawyer.

What happens after a preliminary inquiry in Maryland?

After a preliminary hearing, the next event is the trial date. If you have been issued citations and you appeared for the preliminary hearing, then the commissioner supplied the necessary advisement and paperwork and you now have to appear before a Judge to answer the charges.

A preliminary inquiry is much like an arraignment in a Circuit Court after you’ve been charged with a felony.  At an arraignment, a Judge or judicial officer will advise you on your right to counsel, the crimes you have been charged with and the maximum penalties for those crimes.

If you’ve been charged with a crime of traffic citation in Maryland, contact Baltimore criminal defense lawyer Randolph Rice with the Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice, Jr., LLC, at (410) 694-7291 or email him directly for immediate legal help.

Attorney Randolph Rice is a former Assistant State’s Attorney, is recognized by Super Lawyers as a Maryland Rising Star, is ranked 10 out of 10 by Avvo and is Lead Counsel Rated.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.