Criminal Charges in Maryland

The following is from the website of the Maryland Courts (emphasis mine):

If you believe that someone has committed a crime against you or a minor in your custody, you may visit a District Court commissioner and complete an “Application for Statement of Charges.” You will be required to provide a description of the person who committed the offense and a statement explaining what happened. The commissioner reviews the application to determine whether a crime has been committed and if there is reason to believe that the person you have accused committed the crime. If the commissioner determines that there is probable cause, a charging document is issued.

The commissioner will then determine whether to issue a summons for the person to appear in court or a warrant for the person’s arrest. If a summons is issued, the accused person will receive a copy of the charging document, which states what laws the person is charged with breaking and the penalties for each violation. A court date will be scheduled later.

So, contrary to some information floating around the Internet, a person who is issued a summons by a District Court Commissioner in Maryland “is charged” with a crime.

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