The Bar Association of Washington County, Maryland, Inc. (“the Association”) is a professional organization whose membership is limited to lawyers and judges. However, as an organization, the Association cannot provide legal advice to citizens. We have set forth many frequently asked questions and other sources of information.
The State’s Attorney’s Office for Washington County has the responsibility for prosecuting criminal and serious motor vehicle cases before the Circuit and District Courts for Washington County. The State’s Attorney’s Office may be reached at 240-313-2000.
Citizens needing legal advice on private issues should retain a private attorney. Check the local Yellow Pages for informative listings by name and by area of practice. You may also obtain directories of attorneys by name, office location, and practice area on the directory of members of the Maryland State Bar Association or on one of the national legal directories, Findlaw.com or Martindale.com. There is a mediation service offered by the Consumer Protection Division sponsored by the office of the Maryland Attorney General as to matters involving consumer disputes. The Bar Association also sponsors a mediation service in the District Court. For information, contact the Clerk of the District Court for Washington County.
The Find an Attorney section of this web site offers a listing of Washington County Attorneys arranged by practice area with contact information. The Maryland State Bar Association maintains a list on its Web site of county bar associations that provide lawyer referral services, with contact phone numbers. See www.msba.org/public/referral.htm.
The Bar Association has no function in processing complaints against attorneys or providing for discipline. Complaints against attorneys are handled by the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland. Call the Commission at (410) 514-7051 or 1-800-492-1660. The Commission’s website is www.courts.state.md.us/attygrievance/index.
The Maryland State Bar Association offers a series of twenty-four easy-to-read guides designed to inform the public about common legal problems. These brochures are free to the members of the public, who may download them from the above link or order up to 100 copies.
These services may be obtained from the Legal Aid Bureau, Inc., telephone: (301) 694-7414 (civil matters) or the Office of the Public Defender, 100 West Franklin Street, Hagerstown, Maryland 21740, telephone: 301-791-4735 (criminal matters). Another source for legal representation by lawyers in private practice is the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service at Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS), which provides free or reduced fee representation to low-income individuals who have civil legal problems throughout Maryland. Also, the www.peoples-law.org website has information on how to find an attorney for free or low-cost legal help.
The main office of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office may be reached at 240-313-2100, the Judicial Division at 240-313-2530, the Patrol Division at 301-791-3020, and the Detention Center at 240-313-2133. You may also contact the Maryland State Police at 301-739-2101 or the Hagerstown Police Department at 301-790-3700 (for police matters within the city limits of Hagerstown).
District Court Commissioners are judicial officers authorized to issue statements of criminal charges and perform other judicial functions for the District Court of Maryland. The District Court Commissioners can be reached at 240-420-4650.
These complaints are handled by the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Maryland Attorney General, which has a local office at 44 North Potomac Street, Suite 104, Hagerstown, Maryland, 21740, telephone: 301-791-4780. The Division offers a mediation service that may be able to resolve the problem between you and the business. Also, see the Consumers’ Frequently Asked Questions page sponsored by the Attorney General. Other publications and forms are produced by the Office of the Attorney General. http://www.oag.state.md.us/publications.htm
Homeowners with complaints about licensed contractors or with general questions about a home improvement contractor performing repair, replacement, remodeling or modernization of home or property may contact the Maryland Home Improvement Commission at 1-410-333-6309.
Washington County Permits and Inspections Department:
This is best answered by the division of Labor and Industry at the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation: http://www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/wagepay/
The Washington County Free Library has a copy of state statutes, known collectively as the Annotated Code of Maryland. You can also access the Maryland Code online through a link at the Maryland Law Library website at: http://www.lawlib.state.md.us or directly at http://188.8.131.52/maryland/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=fs-main.htm&2.0
The office of the County Attorney maintains and provides copies of the Code of the Public Local Laws. A copy is also available at the Washington County Free Library, 100 South Potomac Street, Hagerstown, Maryland 21740, telephone: 301-739-3250. The published version is available for sale in the Office of the County Attorney. An up-to-date version of the Public Local Laws is also available on the website of the County Attorney at http://washco-md.net/county_attorney/faq.shtm.
Questions regarding the transportation of handguns or handgun permits should be directed to Assistant Attorney General Mark Bowen at e-mail: LCU@mdsp.org or 410-653-4228.
You should request the record from the government agency that has the record. You may be asked to put your request in writing, and there may be a charge for searching for the record, as well as for copying it, if you request a copy. The Maryland Public Information Act (PIA) (Annotated Code of Maryland, State Government Article, Sections 10-601 et seq.) governs the inspection and copying of public records held by state and local government agencies. The PIA is similar in some respects to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which governs the disclosure of documents held by U.S. government agencies.
The PIA requires that its provisions be “construed in favor of permitting inspection of a public record.” However, the law also exempts certain records from disclosure. If you are denied access to a record held by a state or local agency, you may ask a court to review whether the denial was appropriate under the PIA.
You can find additional information about the PIA in the Public Information Act Manual published by the Office of the Maryland Attorney General.
Questions concerning child support should be directed to the Child Support Enforcement Unit at the Department of Social Services at 240-420-2200, 122 N. Potomac Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740. http://www.dhr.state.md.us. The Department of Social Services is a part of the Maryland Department of Human Resources. E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-332-6347. See also the Maryland Child Support Enforcement Program Web site here.
Contact the Attorney General’s Health Education and Advocacy Unit at 1-877-261-8807, toll-free in Maryland. The Unit can assist you in appealing your health insurance company’s decision.
Mail to: Office of the Attorney General, 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore MD 21202 Attention: Central Files.
Forms, the law, and instructions for these are available from the Office of the Attorney General here.