CLERK MAGISTRATE HEARINGS
In Massachusetts, by statute, persons accused of committing a misdemeanor are generally entitled to an opportunity to be heard in opposition to the issuing of a complaint. A misdemeanor is a crime which cannot be punished with a state prison sentence. On many occasions I have had complaints issued in error and have been able to remand the case back to the level it should have been in the first place. This sometimes happens when a client has failed to formally request a hearing by signing the back of the citation and sending it to the court.
This requirement does not apply (1) if the accused has been under arrest for the offense(s) for which the complaint is sought, (2) if there is an accompanying felony charge, (3) if the application for complaint is denied summarily, or (4) if the magistrate decides that there is an imminent threat of bodily injury,confession of a crime, or flight from the Commonwealth by the accused.
It is a misnomer that just because a case may be scheduled for a clerk’s hearing, a lawyer is not necessary but this can not be any further from the truth. Because a complaint has yet to be issued I can fashion a game plan to to either obtain a dismissal of the complaint or fashion a resolution that keeps the complaint from being issued altogether. Prior to the hearing I will evaluate your case, possibly contact the arresting officer,speak with witnesses, and prepare arguments to convince the clerk magistrate to dismiss the application for complaint against you. The importance of a complaint not issuing is that there is no public record of it — and it would be as if the charge never happened at all. When a potential client calls my office to ask whether or not they should hire a lawyer, my response is typically that,whether I am going to represent them or not, a lawyer should accompany the client. The danger for an unrepresented defendant is that his or her ignorance of both the legal and practical aspects to a clerk’s hearing may give you the false sense of security in going at it alone. I have argued hundreds if not thousands of hearings over my 23-year career and have built a reputation based on aggressive and thorough representation of all my clients,In addition, have built up good will with many of the clerk’s, some whom started practicing law around the same time I did. Knowing the clerk however is never a substitute for preparation.
Needless to say, a clerk’s hearing is a terrific opportunity for you to keep your record clean.
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I have had tremendous success in the area of my practice and understand what needs to be done in order to increase your chances of obtaining a successful result. If you have questions, please contact me at my office at (508) 791-9001 or by cell phone at (508) 769-7995. You may also e-mail me Michael@criminaldefenseworcester.com or text me. I take great pride is a very quick response time and will promptly schedule a free initial consultation at your convenience. I have also begun to conduct quite a few meetings via FACETIME or SKYPE for those clients who are either out of state or have license issues.