What Causes an Arrest in Maryland?

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When a person is placed under arrest, a criminal case begins. To be “under arrest” means that you are in police custody. An arrest is simply the exercise of police authority over a person.

An arrest DOES NOT depend on the use of handcuffs or other physical restraints. A police officer only needs to advise a criminal suspect that he or she is under arrest. The suspect may voluntarily submit to the officer without the use of physical force for an arrest to be complete.


There are many different situations and scenarios that may lead to a person’s arrest. Most often, arrests fall into three main categories.

  1. The Police Officer Observes a Crime: If a police officer sees someone commit a crime, the officer may arrest that individual. These types of arrests are typically serious traffic offenses and DUIs but can also occur any time law enforcement witnesses a crime taking place.
  2. Probable Cause: When a police officer weighs the facts and circumstances of a situation and has reasonable belief that a person is about to commit a crime or has already committed a crime, an arrest may occur. The officer’s reasonable belief allows the arrest based on probable cause.
  3. Arrest Warrants: If a judge or magistrate issues an arrest warrant, this gives law enforcement the right to make an arrest. Warrants are usually issued after a law enforcement officer submits a sworn statement that outlines the reason for the arrest.


  • A description of the alleged crime
  • The person suspected of committing the crime
  • The known addresses of the suspect’s home, school and/or employer
  • Written permission for the law enforcement officer to arrest the suspect

If you think you are going to be charged criminally or have been charged, call attorney Randolph Rice, at (410) 694-7291 for immediate legal help; he is a Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer ready to help with your case.


  • Stet – According to Maryland Rule 4-248, on the motion of the State’s Attorney, the Court may indefinitely postpone trial of a charge by marking the charge “stet” on the docket. The Defendant does not need to be present when a charged is stetted but in that event the clerk shall send notice of the stet to the Defendant. A charge may not be stetted over the objection of the Defendant.
  • Nolle Prosequi – According to Maryland Rule 4-247, the State’s Attorney may terminate a prosecution on a charge and dismiss the charge by entering a nolle prosequi or as referred to in the courtroom, a nolle pros. The Defendant need not be present, but the clerk shall send notice to the Defendant.
  • Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) – According to Maryland Rule 6-220, when a Defendant pleads guilty or nolo contendere or is found guilty of a crime, a Court may stay the entering of judgment, defer proceedings, and place the Defendant on probation subject to reasonable conditions. In other words, the guilty finding is struck and a probation before judgment is entered in the Court record. Thus, is you are ever asked, “have you been convicted of a crime?” you can answer no, since the guilty was struck before being entered.

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