Westwood County Lawyers for Clerk's Hearings
In some instances, a criminal case may be scheduled for a Clerk’s Hearing (Also called a Magistrate’s Hearing). The purpose for such a hearing is for a Clerk Magistrate to determine if there is probable cause for a criminal case to proceed. It is not available in every case but, when a case is scheduled for a clerk’s hearing, it is an important opportunity to prevent criminal charges from going forward.
In Massachusetts, you only have a right to a clerk’s hearing in certain kinds of cases. Generally, these are non-domestic misdemeanors that occur outside the presence of police officers. If you are charged with a felony, are charged with a case of domestic violence or shoplifting or are accused of committing a misdemeanor that the police witnessed, it is up to the discretion of the prosecutor as to whether or not the case is scheduled for a clerk’s hearing or proceeds directly to an arraignment.
For personalized guidance regarding your case, contact our office by dialing (617) 397-5755. Serving clients in Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth, Barnstable, Bristol, Essex & Middlesex Counties.
What Should I Expect in the Hearing?
Clerks Hearings (Magistrates Hearings) differ from court to court. They are not held in front of a judge but, rather, a Clerk Magistrate. They are sometimes held in courtrooms but, other times, will be held in conference rooms or other hearing rooms within the courthouse.
Once the hearing begins, the clerk will likely hear testimony from a police officer, victim, or any other witnesses present on behalf of the prosecution. You or your attorney may be given the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses. The defense can present its own witnesses or any other evidence that it would like the Clerk to consider. Finally, the Clerk will hear argument as to why he or she should or should not issue the criminal charges in the case.
Common cases for clerk's hearings include:
- Assault and Battery
- Restraining Order Violation
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Malicious Destruction of Property
What Is the Process if I Have Received a Notice to Appear at a Clerk’s Hearing?
When you receive your notice for a Clerk’s Hearing, that is your opportunity to prepare your defense of the case. There may be witnesses that need to be located, records that need to be obtained, and other defense work that needs to be completed prior to the hearing.
Furthermore, it may sometimes be possible to work out a resolution of the case prior to the hearing or even in the hearing itself. Any work that can be done to try to reach an agreeable resolution to the case at the clerk’s hearing stage needs to be done once the notice is received.
What Should I be Prepared for if I Have Received a Summons?
Once you receive notice of a clerk’s hearing, be aware that a prosecutor has made the decision to seek charges against you. That being the case, you should be very aware that any statements that you make to police or other witnesses may potentially be used against you at your hearing. Furthermore, the investigation into the case may still be ongoing and you should conduct yourself accordingly.
Why You Should Hire a Defense Attorney for a Clerk's Hearing
The Clerk’s Hearing can be a critical stage in any criminal case. It represents your last chance to avoid having the charges on your record. If the charges get past the clerks hearing, as soon as you are arraigned in your case, an entry will be made on your board of probation record (criminal record).
There can be many potential defenses to develop once your case has been scheduled for a clerk magistrate’s hearing. There might be an alibi defense, wrongful ID, self-defense, witnesses that are lying, or any other number of effective defenses that need to be developed before the hearing, and then presented at the hearing itself. In the hearing, witnesses will testify, documents can be presented, witnesses will be cross-examined, and arguments will be made to the Clerk. It is important to have lawyers experienced in handling Clerks Hearings to fight for you and get the best possible outcome in your case.
Frequently Asked Questions About Clerk’s Hearings
What Else can a Clerk's Hearing be Called?
Clerk’s Hearings are sometimes known as Magistrate’s Hearings, Clerk Magistrate’s Hearings, Probable Cause Hearings, or Show Cause Hearings.
What Happens if the Clerk Finds Against Me?
If the Clerk determines that there is probable cause for the charges to go forward, the case will be scheduled for arraignment. Unlike the clerk’s hearing, and arraignment happens in front of a judge. At your arraignment, the charges will be formally read to you and the issue of bail will be addressed by the court. Once you are arraigned on a criminal charge, the charge will appear on your record.
What Happens if the Clerk Finds in my Favor?
If the decision is made by the clerk that the case should not go forward, that is the end of the process. No further court dates are scheduled, and no entry Is made on your criminal record. Generally, even if the clerk determines that the charges should not go forward, then can sometimes be re-filed (usually, this will only happen if there is some change in circumstances).
Can My Hearing be Pushed off to a Later Date?
You are not entitled to a continuance of your clerk’s hearing date. It may sometimes be possible to continue the hearing to a later date. However, such a request can be objected to by the prosecutor and denied by the clerk.
Schedule your free phone consultation
with an attorney at Eisenstadt, Krippendorf & Galvin, LLP by filling out our
confidential contact form or by
calling 24/7 to get live help at (617) 397-5755 right now.
Our firm consists of local attorneys who have worked in the area for years. Each attorney is familiar with the courts and has a great reputation within the legal field.
Free Initial Consultation
At EKG, our firm offers a free inital consultation to learn more about your case and to ensure our team is the best fit for you.
Our legal team does not back down from a challenge. We fight to ensure that the rights, futures and freedoms of our clients are protected.
Proven Track Record
Our attorneys have successfully helped thousands of clients reach a positive outcome in their cases. We have acheived this by using our experience and expertise to our advantage.
Accessible to Clients
We are available 24/7 to best suit the needs of our clients. We pride ourselves on providing each of our clients and their cases with the personal attention and commitment that they deserve.
Our team consists of a former Supervisor of District Courts, a former Assistant Attorney General, and a former Homicide Prosecutor. Together they have a combined experience of 50 years.
Forgery, Uttering, Credit Card Fraud, Identity Fraud, Larceny Case Dismissed
Domestic Assault and Battery Not Guilty
Identity Fraud, Criminal Harassment, Witness Intimidation Case Dismissed
Possession of a Firearm, Possession of Ammunition Motion to Suppress allowed. Evidence Suppressed
Felony Larceny Case Dismissed
Possession with Intent to Distribute Charges Reduced from Felony to Misdemeanor
Threats Case Dismissed
Violation of a Restraining Order Case Dismissed
Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol (OUI, DUI) Not Guilty
Motor Vehicle Homicide Not Guilty
We could not have been happier with the firm of EKG.- L.S.
Thank you very much EKG!- H.S.
I am so glad that I hired EKG to handle my case.- L.O.
They made a very bad situation much easier to deal with.- K. B.
We could not believe how quickly you were able to get our son out of jail.- J. & B. L.