As of October 1, 2017, a new Maryland law requires defendants to see a District Court Commissioner to apply for Public Defender representation in certain types of cases. These cases include:

  • A pending criminal or traffic charge (that is punishable by incarceration)
  • VOP – violation of probation hearing
  • Civil and criminal contempt (that is punishable by incarceration)
  • An open warrant

Defendants will still be able to contact the Public Defender’s Office directly in cases such as:

  • A misdemeanor or offense punishable by a fine of MORE THAN $500 (not punishable by incarceration)
  • Civil and criminal contempt (if arrested AND not brought before a commissioner)
  • VOP – (if arrested AND not brought before a commissioner)
  • Child in Need of Assistance Cases (CINA) or Termination of Parental Rights
  • Juvenile Court Cases
  • Court of Special Appeals Cases & Court of Appeals Cases
  • Post-Conviction Cases
  • Motions for Modification, Health General (8-505/8-507) motions (if client was not previously represented by the Office of the Public Defender for that case)
  • Mental Health Cases where resulting is committed to a mental health facility (involuntary commitment, NCR reviews, IST reviews)


Full details are available at