What Happens When You Have a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing?

When you are charged with a crime known as a misdemeanor (as opposed to a felony) you will sometimes be arrested but sometimes instead you will receive a notice from the court to appear for a Clerk-Magistrate hearing. The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether there is a sufficient basis for issuing a criminal complaint. These hearings can be done in a courtroom or a conference room depending on the court. It will be less formal than a trial and the rules of evidence do not apply. Typically someone from the police, or the private party seeking a complaint, tells the Clerk the reasons why a complaint should be issued against the defendant. The defendant or his attorney, if he has one, then gets their chance to speak to the Clerk and argue why no complaint should issue. It is a good idea to be represented by an experienced lawyer at a Clerk-Magistrate hearing because he or she will know what points must be made to give the best chance of avoiding the issuance of a complaint. There might be legal arguments to be made but there might also be information about the defendant that is important and that might help the Clerk decide whether to issue a complaint. Clerk-Magistrate hearings typically do not last long but they are important because it is very beneficial to end a criminal case before a complaint gets issued and the case gets entered into the court database.

I have handled hundreds of Clerk-Magistrate hearings in Framingham, Natick, and many other district courts. I will meet with you before your hearing and go over exactly what will happen and what the possible outcomes are. I will listen to your concerns. If you would like to speak with me about your case please  call me at 508-308-8191.