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When Can Maryland Police Officers Make Warrantless Arrests?

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Under U.S. federal and Maryland state laws, police officers must normally obtain a warrant before making an arrest. Depriving a person of their constitutional right to liberty without a warrant generally qualifies as police misconduct.

That being said, Maryland law does provide a number of exceptions to this rule. In narrowly tailored situations, Maryland does allow police officers to make an arrest without a warrant, which is referred to legally as a warrantless arrest.

In order to understand the boundaries of this exception, the following sections will examine the grounds and qualifying crimes for warrantless arrests in Maryland.

What are the Grounds for Warrantless Arrests in Maryland?

Maryland Code of Criminal Procedure Section 2-203 establishes the grounds for a warrantless arrest. Under this section, police officers may disregard warrant requirements if there is reason to believe that the suspected criminal may:

  • Flee or otherwise escape, unless arrested immediately;
  • Inflict physical harm or property damage, unless arrested immediately; or
  • Destroy or otherwise tamper with evidence, unless arrested immediately.

In order to make a warrantless arrest, a police officer must have probable cause that — absent an immediate arrest — the suspected criminal will engage in any of the actions described above.

Which Crimes Qualify for Warrantless Arrests in Maryland?

As detailed in Section 2-203, only certain crimes qualify for warrantless arrests under Maryland state law. Specifically, this section limits warrantless arrests to alleged incidents of:

  • Manslaughter by vehicle or vessel, as defined by Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 2-209;
  • Malicious burning of personal property, as defined by Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 6-104 or Section 6-105;
  • Malicious destruction, as defined by Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 6-301;
  • Theft crimes (under $1,000), as defined by Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 7-104 or Section 7-105;
  • Causing false alarms, as defined by Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 9-604;
  • Indecent exposure, as defined by Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 11-107;
  • Drug crimes, including possession and distribution, as defined by Maryland Code of Criminal Law, Title 5;
  • Weapons crimes, including carrying or transporting handguns, as defined by Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 4-203 or Section 4-204;
  • Concealed weapon crimes, as defined by Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 4-101;
  • Prostitution or similar offenses, as defined by Maryland Code of Criminal Law, Title 11, Subtitle 3; or
  • Violation of pre- or post-trial release conditions, as defined by Maryland Code of Criminal Procedure Section 5-213.1.

In cases of criminal activity not listed above, Maryland police officers are not usually allowed to make warrantless arrests.

Let Us Help You Today

If you need legal help with a warrantless arrest or similar types of police misconduct in Maryland, it can be exceedingly beneficial to speak with a trusted Baltimore police misconduct lawyer. The lawyers at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland are experienced in the field of police misconduct, including warrantless arrests. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

https://www.iamelelawfirmbaltimore.com/baltimore-civilians-to-serve-on-review-board-for-police-misconduct/

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