Paper says I have to go the commissioner in 3 days?

When you are arrested for an alcohol charge in Maryland one of the many pieces of paper they will give you will tell you to report to the Commissioner within three business days of your arrest. This often times can cause some discomfort to the defendant who does not feel like reporting back to the "system"  especially if they had previously been arrested or spent any time in jail.

The purpose behind reporting to the Commissioner is that the government desires to do a formal reading of the charges against you and to tell you to retain an attorney. You see if the government fails to formally tell you what you are charged with and advise you of your right to retain a lawyer to defend you then you are actually legally entitled to a postponement on your first court date if you appear without a lawyer. The reason for that is the government is obligated to tell you what your charges are and explain what the maximum punishment that you face so that you can then go make an informed decision about retaining an attorney or a public defender if you cannot afford a lawyer.

The problem with going to the commissioner aside from being highly inconvenient is that if you have a more serious type of DUI offense the commissioner can actually take you into custody and set a bail for you after you have already been released once on the night of your arrest.  This is yet another reason why most defendants would choose not to report back to the commissioner particularly without an attorney.

The good news is that if you immediately seek out counsel following your arrest and you retain counsel to defend you in your DUI offense, counsel can enter his appearance in your matter and thereby eliminate your need to report back to the commissioner.  Remember the commissioner's obligation is to advise you of your rights and penalties related to the charges and to advise you to seek counsel. If you have already retained counsel and they have entered their appearance on your behalf you have largely satisfied what the commissioner is obliged to do.

So the message is if you are charged with DUI or any other type of criminal offense it behooves you to seek aggressive and competent counsel as quickly as possible and have that attorney enter their appearance on your behalf such that you are not exposed to the system any more than you have to be.
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