MASSACHUSETTS CLERKS HEARING ATTORNEY
In Massachusetts, the police cannot make an arrest if they do not witness the misdemeanor. Instead they must apply for a complaint through the local district court. The defendant receives notice in the mail to appear before a clerk magistrate. The clerk magistrate must then decide whether there is sufficient evidence (probable cause) to issue the criminal charges. If the charges are not issued, then no record of it shall remain, as if it never happened. If charges are issued, then an arraignment will be scheduled and formal charges will be issued. At this point your record will reflect the criminal charge and can be used in future background checks against you.
What Happens at the Clerks hearing?
The police or police prosecutor will be present to offer their case to the clerk. Each side will be given a chance to present their evidence which may include documentory evidence, eye witness testimony and/or character witnesses. The hearing is not recorded and does not appear on any public records. Each side will make their arguments and present their evidence at which point the clerk will either find enough probable cause that a crime has been comitted or the charges will be dismissed.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for a Clerk’s Hearing?
Often times the attorney can negotiate with the police and/or prosecutor to dismiss the charges depending on the circumstances. There may also be a fine involved and continuance of the case for 3 to 6 months at which point the charges may be dismissed. Either way, it is critical that you have competent legal representation at this state of the proceedings so as to prevent a permanent criminal charge on your record.
Contact an experienced clerks hearing attorney
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