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Clerk Magistrate hearing in Massachusetts

I got a summons in the mail and I've been called in to a Clerk Magistrate's Hearing next week (in a Massachusetts court). Can you give me some idea of what will happen and what I need to do to get ready for it? Thanks.

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In criminal cases, a clerk-magistrate hearing in Massachusetts is an informal proceeding used to determine whether or not there is probable cause to issue a criminal complaint. In civil motor vehicle infraction case (e.g. speeding), the purpose of the hearing is to determine whether it is more likely or not (preponderance of the evidence) that the motorist committed a civil automobile law violation.
The procedure begins with the prosecution presenting its case. The defendant will then have an opportunity to respond and present its case. After the hearing, the clerk-magistrate will announce the findings. In criminal cases, clerk-magistrate hearings can be used as “plea bargaining” and negotiation sessions. I recommend that you hire a lawyer. It may be "money well spent."
Attorney Brian E. Simoneau

Submitted Thu, 02/04/2010 - 11:01

Attorney Simoneau gives excellent advice. I would add that if you are successful at the clerks hearing nothing will go on your record. It is important to present the best defense you can at the clerks hearing to keep any potential charges off your record. The only downside to "losing" the clerks hearing is that you will be arraigned on the charges. Unfortunately there are many adverse consequences to even being arraigned on a criminal charge. This is true even if the charges are later dismissed. Contact an attorney as soon as possible so that he or she can assist you with your defense. I would be happy to discuss this case with you.

Attorney Kevin Gaughen, Jr. | Gaughen, Gaughen, Lane & Hernando


Hopefuly someone can answer my question as it was a new one to me:

Where can a person find research for whether or not a second clerk magistrate hearing is permissible for the same issue(s) presented at a first clerk magistrate hearing and the clerk magistrate found no probable cause for a complaint to issue? Any guidance would be appreciated. Thank you.

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