Have you been arrested or charged?



If you have been arrested or charged with a crime you should expect the following:



1)       You may have been arrested or received a summons in the mail to appear before the court for the crime charged.

Your first court apperance will be for arraignment and to set bail. This is where you will plead guilty or not guilty. 

Often time one is released on his/her own personal recognizance,however if the charge is a serious felony, a crime involving 

violence to others or if you have a long criminal record, you may be required to post a cash bail to be released.  The purpose

a bail hearing is for the court to determine whether or not your a flight risk. They want to be assured that you will return

to court to your next appearance. This is not a trial or a hearing on the facts of the case. 



2)    The next date would be pre-trial conference. This is a out of court informal meeting with the prosecutor to discuss evidencieary issues and to discuss the possiblity of a plea deal.  50-60% of all cases are settled at this stage.



3)    If no plea deal is reached, the case will go to a pre-trial hearing. This is a court hearing that often involves evidentiary issues. Motions to supress witness identification, statements, other evidenciary issues are heard at these hearings. All evidence should be exchanged at or before this meeting. It is also another chance to make a deal with the state prosecutor.



 4)    If no deal is made, then the case will proceed to trial usually within 1 year.  At this point you can either be found guilty or not guilty by a judge or jury.  This determination of a judge or jury is determined only after all evidence has been exchanged usually at the pre-trial hearing.



5)      If the charge is a serious felony in Superior court and you are found guilty, then the next hearing which can take place on the same day is the sentencing hearing.  Here the court listens to the vicitms and your own friends and familyto assess what would be the appropriate sentence.  Often times, judges are restricted to mandatory sentencing guidlines, but they do have some leeway in their decision based on previous record, the nature of the crime and the sentencing hearing. If the charges are less serious such as a misdemeanor offense, then often times the judge will setence you immdately following the verdict. Often times this involves continuances without a finding where you will be placed on probation during that time frame. Keep in mind however that the courts do have the ability to sentence you up to 2  1/2 years in the house of corrections for a misdemeanor offense in the District Court.



 6)     If convicted, you may appeal your case to the Massachusetts Appeals court.  You must provide the court with notice of appeal within 30 days after the conviction. Preferably this is done immediately following sentencing with the committee for public service counsel.  This program is for low income defenders. Often times your criminal defense attorney does not provide appellate services and you will need to hire an appellate attorney for this process.




Contact an expert criminal defense attorney


At the Law Offices of Michael R. St. Louis, we are fully prepared to handle your criminal case. As a leading Boston criminal defense law firm, we can provide you with the legal representation you need to fight and win your case. Call our Law Offices today for your free consultation at 781-816-3950 or contact us online.




Si el español es el unico idioma, por favor pongase en contacto con nuestro traductor Eneria Noguera al 508-839-2376 o contactenos en linea.


Have you been arrested?

Attorney at Law