So when someone gets arrested in this Country the person will generally appear before a Commissioner or Judge who will set the person’s bail before release. Bail is defined as a sum of money or collateral that will guarantee their appearance in court. So if you are poor and arrested you probably will sit in jail until your trial or next hearing date. Washington, DC is the only city in America where not one individual is sitting in jail awaiting trial or hearing because they can not afford the bond. That’s right, Washington, DC could be a model for the rest of the Country. John Oliver, the HBO comedian has been talking about the bail laws in the Country for years and finally, Congress may do just that. Getting Donald Trump to sign the law may be a different story but at least it’s being talked about.
2 Senators propose changing the Nation’s Bails Law
It’s impressive that a democratic and republican senator has proposed bi partisan legislation that could fundamentally change the dynamics of bail law in this country. As a criminal defense lawyer in Washington, DC, and Maryland it is a breath of fresh air to see some needed changes in the surrounding jurisdictions.
How DC Bail Law is Different from Maryland
For example, you could get arrested in DC for Misdemeanor Assault and get arrested for 2nd-degree assault (Misdemeanor) in Maryland. In DC as long as you have ties to the community you would be released on your all recognizance. In fact, a Judge in DC could not hold you on a misdemeanor assault unless you had a long record of failing to appear in Court, or you had a pending case, or on probation/parole. In Maryland, a commissioner could set a 2500.00 dollar bond or more. In Maryland, If you had no money you would be held until a bond review motion was filed with a Judge. Thereafter, you would have to pay bail bondsmen to post bond. There is underlining unfairness to the Maryland bail laws in comparison to the District of Columbia.
We practice criminal law in Washington, DC and the State of Maryland.