Defendants are usually brought before a judge of the District Court of Maryland for an arraignment within 24 hours of arrest or the first available court date. At the arraignment, the defendant is informed of the charges against him or her and bail is set. A plea of guilty or not guilty is entered for the defendant and, in the case of a defendant charged with a felony, a preliminary hearing date is set. If the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor, the Court will set a trial date. If the defendant does not already have an attorney and has informed the Court that he or she cannot afford one, the defendant is referred to the Office of the Public Defender to determine whether or not he or she is eligible for representation by that office’s services.
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