What happens after I receive a Possession of Marijuana Citation in Maryland?

So, unfortunately someone in Maryland was accused by the police of possessing a small amount of marijuana and issued a citation for Possession of Marijuana by the officer. The officer didn’t arrest the accused, the accused never saw a commissioner, and the officer may not have said much else other than “you’ll receive notice to be in court.”

For more information: What is a Citation for Marijuana Possession in Maryland?

What happens next?
Having received the citation, the accused will next receive a court date and a case number. Generally this is done by the court sending a notice to appear through the mail to the address listed to the accused on the citation. The timing of this process depends on the county in Maryland. For example, currently in Prince George’s County it seems to be taking around 8-10 weeks from the date that the person was issued the citation until there is a court case number and a court date set for the charge.

Will there be a warrant issued for my arrest?
No, there will only be a summons issued compelling you to appear in court on the date, time and location. If you fail to appear in court, there could either be a bench warrant or arrest warrant issued at that point.

What kind of court date will it be? A Trial Date or Preliminary Inquiry?
Before going to trial in Maryland the accused is required to have been previously notified by a judge or commissioner of the nature of the charges; and if the offense carries jail time, of that person’s right to counsel. When someone is arrested that person is brought before the commissioner who informs the accused of these rights. However, this does not occur when someone is issued a criminal citation.

So what may happen instead is that the accused gets set in for a Preliminary Inquiry before a Trial Date. The preliminary inquiry is a court appearance where there are no summonsed witnesses, no trials, and only the defendant must appear. The defendant is then notified of their right to counsel, the nature of the charges, and given a trial date. The trial date is then the same as it would be for someone who was arrested instead of issued a citation.

This may depend on a county by county basis. In Prince George’s County the courts are just now implementing a system to make sure that everyone who is issued a citation receives an initial Preliminary Inquiry date prior to a Trial Date, so that will be the first appearance in court. Some counties still may have it so that your first appearance is on a Trial Date, which does pose some potential problems if you have been charged but never advised of your right to an attorney and the nature of the charges.

Did you receive a citation for possession of marijuana? Feel free to contact Attorney Chris Peretti at 301-875-3472 for a free consultation. It is important to speak with a lawyer who handles these types of offenses, knows how this system works, and can fight to get you the best result out of your case. I can explain to you the process and put you in the best position to avoid jail time, minimize costs, and keep this kind of charge off your criminal record if possible.

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