Published on:

The Value of Pre-Arraignment Criminal Defense Investigations in Massachusetts

The large majority of people arrested or summonsed in Massachusetts and charged with a crime are going to get arraigned. At this stage of criminal proceedings it makes no difference to most Massachusetts judges whether or not the person is innocent or guilty. As a matter of fact, this makes no difference to most district attorneys either. In truth however it should. Anyone who gets arraigned in Massachusetts gets a PCF number. PCF stands for Probation Central File. A PCF number will follow you forever regardless of conviction, dismissal or acquittal. If you can, you want to avoid being arraigned. Usually the only way to do so is through a pre-arraignment criminal defense investigation. This article discusses some steps that can be taken towards accomplishing this goal.Criminal Defense Investigation

Once You Are Made Aware of Criminal Charges Hire a Lawyer

I give this advice to everyone who calls me with a pending criminal problem or a potential criminal problem. There are times when you can nip these things in the bud. All too often people ignore summonses for clerk’s hearings not understanding the significance of these proceedings. People think that since the summons is not for a criminal matter there is no need to worry. This is wrong thinking. Clerk magistrates will issue criminal complaints if the accused does not appear to answer to the charges. Moreover, even if you do appear at this proceeding, doing so without a lawyer is imprudent. Lawyers can resolve pending disputes, challenge the factual basis for probable cause or get the clerk magistrate to impose a resolution to the case that does not include issuing a complaint.

Usually you will have some time to prepare for a clerk magistrate hearing. Your lawyer can investigate the allegations and provide you with a defense at this proceeding, thus avoiding a criminal complaint and arraignment. Your lawyer might also be able to continue the clerk’s hearing to provide additional time to investigate the alleged charges. Sometimes you are better off demonstrating factually that things did not happen the way your accuser said rather than just denying the allegations at the hearing. We have won countless clerk’s hearings, many of which succeeded as a result of a pre-arraignment investigation.

If You Are Summonsed For Arraignment A Continuance Might Result in a Dismissal Prior to Arraignment

When someone gets a summons for an arraignment and hires me I immediately look to see if this is a case that has any conceivable merit. If it does not I recommend to my client that we seek a continuance of the arraignment to show the district attorney and/or the judge that the case should not be prosecuted. Attentive, conscientious judges and level handed prosecutors will agree to our request if we can initially demonstrate that the case should never have been filed. For example, last week I was contacted by a young man charged with a domestic assault and battery case. The incident never occurred. The complainant called me and told me that she had lied to the police and that she would admit to doing so in open court. Under these circumstances the man though that he could handle the case himself. So, he went into court with the woman. She was sworn in and admitted to lying. Nevertheless, the man was arraigned and the case continued for pretrial.  This never should have happened and had he hired a lawyer the arraignment may have been continued. Our investigation would be provided to the prosecutor who in turn would be obligated to dismiss the case. All of this would have been done prior to arraignment. The result would have been no PCF number. Now, unfortunately the man does have a PCF number for a violent crime.

You Need A Lawyer Who Investigates All Defenses For Your Case

For almost three decades Attorney Stephen Neyman has been investigating criminal allegations against his clients to determine the best way to conduct their defense. Call us at 617-263-6800 or send our office an email to discuss your case. Let us help. No one can match our results.