Issued a Criminal Citation in Massachusetts? Know Answers to All Your Questions!

If the box on your Massachusetts Uniform Citation for a criminal application is checked, you are being accused of committing a criminal offense.

In situations such as drug possession or careless operation of a motor vehicle, an officer has the option, at his discretion, of issuing you a citation for a misdemeanor criminal charge rather than arresting you for the offense. You may be issued a criminal citation either by having it mailed to you or delivered to you in person by a police officer.

This is the procedure to follow in the event that a misdemeanor violation is committed without the presence of a law enforcement official, such as in the instance of a hit-and-run accident or shoplifting. Even though you are not being arrested, this is still a criminal charge against you, and so you must get help from a  Quincy criminal defense attorney 

When can I expect to have a hearing on this matter?

The court will notify you of your upcoming court date, which will be a Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing. 

Your hearing date will most likely not be set until at least one month after they have received the request; however, this will depend on the court’s schedule.

What goes on during the hearing before the Clerk Magistrate?

A police prosecutor will submit evidence to a magistrate during a clerk’s hearing to determine whether or not there is sufficient cause (evidence) to make a criminal complaint. The magistrate will then decide whether or not to issue the complaint. It is up to the Clerk to decide whether or not to charge you.

Do I have a chance of winning at the Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing?

The answer is yes; there is a good probability that a lawyer can stop a complaint from being filed by arguing that the evidence of a crime is insufficient to proceed with the investigation.

The possibility that a complaint will not be filed and the charge will be dropped entirely represents the best-case scenario. In accordance with the law, there was never any probable reason, and there is no record of you.

Should I Bring a Lawyer to My Hearing Before the Clerk?

At this hearing, having legal representation is not technically essential to participate in the proceeding. However, if you do not have a lawyer with you during your hearing with the clerk, the likelihood of the clerk finding sufficient cause to charge you with a felony is significantly increased.

If you have an expert attorney arguing on your behalf, you have the absolute best chance of getting the case completely dropped without further action.

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