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RULE 4-202. CHARGING DOCUMENT--CONTENT

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 4. Criminal Causes
Chapter 200. Pretrial Procedures (Refs & Annos)
MD Rules, Rule 4-202
RULE 4-202. CHARGING DOCUMENT--CONTENT
(a) General Requirements. A charging document shall contain the name of the defendant or any name or description by which the defendant can be identified with reasonable certainty, except that the defendant need not be named or described in a citation for a parking violation. It shall contain a concise and definite statement of the essential facts of the offense with which the defendant is charged and, with reasonable particularity, the time and place the offense occurred. An allegation made in one count may be incorporated by reference in another count. The statute or other authority for each count shall be cited at the end of the count, but error in or omission of the citation of authority is not grounds for dismissal of the charging document or for reversal of a conviction.
A charging document also shall contain a notice to the defendant in the following form:
TO THE PERSON CHARGED:
1. This paper charges you with committing a crime.
2. If you have been arrested and remain in custody, you have the right to have a judicial officer decide whether you should be released from jail until your trial.
3. If you have been served with a citation or summons directing you to appear before a judicial officer for a preliminary inquiry at a date and time designated or within five days of service if no time is designated, a judicial officer will advise you of your rights, the charges against you, and penalties. The preliminary inquiry will be cancelled if a lawyer has entered an appearance to represent you.
4. You have the right to have a lawyer.
5. A lawyer can be helpful to you by:
(A) explaining the charges in this paper;
(B) telling you the possible penalties;
(C) explaining any potential collateral consequences of a conviction, including immigration consequences;
(D) helping you at trial;
(E) helping you protect your constitutional rights; and
(F) helping you to get a fair penalty if convicted.
6. Even if you plan to plead guilty, a lawyer can be helpful.
7. If you are eligible, the Public Defender or a court-appointed attorney will represent you at any initial appearance before a judicial officer and at any proceeding under Rule 4-216.2 to review an order of a District Court commissioner regarding pretrial release. If you want a lawyer for any further proceeding, including trial, but do not have the money to hire one, the Public Defender may provide a lawyer for you. To apply for Public Defender representation, contact a District Court commissioner.
8. If you want a lawyer but you cannot get one and the Public Defender will not provide one for you, contact the court clerk as soon as possible.
9. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DATE OF YOUR TRIAL TO GET A LAWYER. If you do not have a lawyer before the trial date, you may have to go to trial without one.
(b) Signature on Charging Documents.
(1) Requirement--Who Must Sign.
(A) Before a citation is issued, it shall be signed by the peace officer who issues it.
Cross reference: See Rule 4-102(h) for definition of “peace officer.”
(B) A Statement of Charges shall be signed by the peace officer or judicial officer who issues it.
(C) An indictment shall be signed by the foreperson or acting foreperson of the grand jury and also may be signed by a State's Attorney.
(D) A criminal information shall be signed by a State's Attorney.
(2) Method of Signing.
(A) A charging document filed in paper form shall contain either the handwritten signature of the individual who signed the document or a facsimile signature of that individual affixed in a manner that assures the genuineness of the signature.
(B) Subject to the Rules in Title 20, a charging document filed electronically shall contain a facsimile or digital signature of the individual purporting to be the signer, which shall be affixed in a manner that assures the genuineness of the signature.
(C) If an indictment or criminal information is not signed personally by the elected or appointed State's Attorney for the county but is properly signed by another individual authorized to sign the document, the typed name of the elected or appointed State's Attorney may also appear on the document.
(3) Waiver of Objection. A plea to the merits waives any objection that the charging document is not signed.
(c) Specific Requirements.
(1) Citation.
(A) A citation shall be (i) under oath of the peace officer who signs it, or (ii) accompanied by a Statement of Probable Cause signed under oath by the same or another peace officer.
(B) A citation shall contain a command to the defendant to appear in District Court when required.
(2) Statement of Charges. A Statement of Charges shall include or be accompanied by (A) a Statement of Probable Cause signed under oath, or (B) an Application for Statement of Charges signed under oath, which is sufficient to establish probable cause.
(3) Indictment. An indictment shall conclude with the words “against the peace, government, and dignity of the State.”
(4) Summons in District Court. A District Court summons shall contain a command to the defendant to appear in District Court as directed.
Cross reference: See Section 13 of Article IV of the Constitution of Maryland and State v. Dycer, 85 Md. 246, 36 A. 763 (1897).
(d) Matters Not Required. A charging document need not negate an exception, excuse, or proviso contained in a statute or other authority creating or defining the offense charged. It is not necessary to use the word “feloniously” or “unlawfully” to charge a felony or misdemeanor in a charging document. In describing money in a charging document, it is sufficient to refer to the amount in current money, without specifying the particular notes, denominations, coins, or certificates circulating as money of which the amount is composed.
Source: This Rule is derived as follows:
Section (a) is derived from former M.D.R. 711 a and Rule 711 a.
Section (b) is derived from former M.D.R. 711 b 2 and Rule 711 c.
Section (c) is derived from former M.D.R. 711 b 1 and Rule 711 b.
Section (d) is derived from former Rule 711 d and e and M.D.R. 711 c and d.

Credits

[Adopted April 6, 1984, eff. July 1, 1984. Amended Nov. 21, 2013, eff. Jan. 1, 2014; May 27, 2014, eff. July 1, 2014; Dec. 13, 2016, eff. Apr. 1, 2017; Oct. 10, 2017, eff. Jan. 1, 2018.]
MD Rules, Rule 4-202, MD R CR Rule 4-202
Current with amendments received through December 1, 2023. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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