It’s important to know your rights during a criminal investigation in Maryland. Although police officers and prosecutors should follow the rules, they often do everything possible to get you to confess to a crime or incriminate yourself.
Many people who face arrest are unaware of their rights. It’s advisable to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest to protect yourself from incrimination.
Baltimore criminal defense lawyer Randolph Rice looks at what are your rights during a criminal investigation.
What Are Your Rights if Police Show Up at Your Home?
A police officer knocking on your door is often the first indication investigators see you as a person of interest for a crime. Few things are as intimidating as a call from the police and some suspects panic. The officers may ask if they can come inside and look around. If you allow them in, you give up your rights. Ask to see a warrant. If the police obtained a warrant which is based on probable cause, you must allow them entry. Investigators go before a judge to make their case for a search warrant.
If the police ask to look around without a warrant, politely refuse. You are under no obligation to prove you have nothing to hide.
What Are Your Rights to Answer Police Questions?
If the police show up at your home and ask questions, you have no obligation to answer them. Officers are often casual and conversational. They don’t give the impression they are working up a case against you. Don’t make it easier for officers to eventually arrest you. Tell them you would rather not answer their questions.
What Are Your Rights at the Time of a Police Arrest in Maryland?
You have a right not to be arbitrarily arrested. Police must show probable cause you committed a crime for a judge to issue an arrest warrant.
Police will often read you your Miranda rights if you are arrested in Maryland. However, the law says they are only required to Mirandize a suspect if they intend to interrogate them in custody. Arrests can occur without a Miranda warning being given. The police must read a suspect their rights before a later interrogation.
The arresting officer will tell you you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. The officer should tell you, you have the right to a criminal defense attorney. If you can’t afford one, the court will provide you with one. If the suspect waives his or her Miranda rights, he or she must specifically say so. If the arrestee is silent, it should not be inferred as a waiver of his Miranda rights.
The right to remain silent is important in the criminal justice system. Police cannot imply you committed a crime because you did not answer a question about it. The law protects defendants during police interrogations that often take place when the accused is vulnerable.
What Are Your Rights To a Speedy Trial?
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial. Arrestees can be held for up to 72 hours without charge. If a prosecutor fails to bring charges within the time limit, the police have to let you go.
Once a suspect in Maryland is arrested, booked and processed, they see a commissioner for a bond to be set. Maryland law states the defendant can receive a bail review hearing before a District Court judge within 24 hours of seeing the commissioner.
In some cases, the commissioner will deny bail or set a very high bail. The defendant has the right to wait to see a district court judge, either later that day or the next day. The defendant will not be released unless they post bail with the amount set by the commissioner. You have a right to a pretrial hearing by a grand jury in felony cases.
If you are locked up without a scheduled court appearance, your criminal defense lawyer can petition the court for a writ of habeas corpus. This is a mechanism derived from English Common law. It gives the defendant a court date to determine the legality of their imprisonment.
What Are Your Rights if Stopped By the Police on the Streets of Maryland?
If an officer stops you on the street and asks you questions, you don’t have to answer them. You don’t need to agree to a search either unless the officer has a warrant. Baltimore County Government states on its website you may inquire why a police officer is asking questions if the officer has not told you why. “If despite these considerations, you feel that you do not want to respond, the officer must respect your right not to answer.”
What Are Your Rights During a Traffic Stop by Police in Maryland
During a traffic stop in Maryland, you have a free from unreasonable or illegal searches by law enforcement. You have the right to remain silent and not answer questions by the police. A police officer must have probable cause to stop you. Police should not randomly stop your car. You have the right to challenge the legality of a traffic stop in court.
As well as your rights during a criminal investigation in Maryland, you have many rights during your trial. You must be informed of the evidence and the charges prosecutors bring against you, your right to a jury trial, and for the accused to be present when witnesses give testimony. Defendants are protected against a second trial for the same crime under the rule of double jeopardy.
Ask a Baltimore Defense Lawyer What Are Your Rights During a Criminal Investigation in Maryland?
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our criminal defense attorney fights for the rights of defendants every day in the courts. People who face arrest are often scared and bewildered. Our firm will fight your corner and make sure you are protected by the legal system. Please contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today for a free consultation at (410) 431-0911.