If you are facing criminal charges in Boston or the state of Massachusetts, you likely have a lot of questions. Here you will find answers to some of the most common questions regarding criminal defense cases in Massachusetts. Feel free to contact us for a free phone consultation about your case at (617) 657-4464.
What’s going to happen at my arraignment?
Arraignment is often the first court appearance of your criminal case. This is when you are officially charged. Of paramount importance is the potential for being held on bail, and probably the most important reason to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What is a plea bargain?
A plea bargain can be an effective tool to resolve a case. We can negotiate with the prosecutor to secure a reduction in charges in certain cases. This is generally the quickest way to bring the case to a close. Within the plea bargain, some potential conclusions include:
Continuance Without a Finding (CWOF): The defendant admits to “sufficient facts” to warrant a guilty verdict. Rather than finding the defendant guilty, the judge continues the case for a period of time, with specific conditions (e.g., the defendant has to stay away from the victim, or attend drug counseling). As long as the defendant complies with the conditions, a CWOF is entered on their criminal record. CWOFs are not disclosed to most employers during criminal background checks. Although a CWOF is not considered a conviction in Massachusetts, certain CWOFs may result in immigration consequences.
Pretrial Probation: Pretrial probation is the next best thing to a straight dismissal. The judge sets a term of probation while the case is ongoing. If the defendant complies with the conditions, the case is dismissed at the end of that period.
Probation: The defendant avoids jail time, and generally has to comply with certain conditions, and meet regularly with a probation officer.
Treatment: The court may order the defendant to enroll in treatment for drugs, alcohol, anger management, or mental illness. The court might also order parenting classes, completion of school, or job training.
Drug Court: Drug courts vary somewhat from court to court, but generally require attendant at regular session in front of a judge. Treatment providers, probation officers, criminal attorneys, prosecutors, and the defendant are also part of the team. The defendant receives intensive treatment and is subject to random drug testing.
Suspended Sentence: This can be part of a probation plea bargain. If the defendant violates the conditions of probation, a predetermined jail sentence is imposed.
Split Sentence: A period of incarceration followed by a period of probation.
What courts do you travel to? Will you travel outside of Boston to represent me?
Every criminal court in Massachusetts.
How long will my case last?
Some cases require only one court appearance before resolution – especially in the case of a successful clerk magistrate hearing. Other cases can stretch on over several court dates. Other cases may take a year or more before they go to trial. The best way to determine your options is to take advantage of a free consultation by contacting the law firm.
Do you represent military veterans?
Yes. Read more about special issues regarding military veterans and criminal charges here.
What if the police obtained evidence illegally?
A motion to suppress evidence can keep out certain evidence, and severely undermine the prosecution’s case. A motion to suppress might be granted, for example, when police unlawfully search your property, or when a witness identification is improperly handled.
Will my criminal charges affect my immigration status?
For immigrants facing criminal charges, the potential penalties extend far beyond the threat of incarceration. Read more about immigration consequences here.
If you have questions that aren’t listed here, or if you would like to speak with Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Joseph B. Simons, call (617) 657-4464 or send a message by clicking here.