Your Cambridge work day is over and you return home. You are minding your own buisenss as you pick up the mail and bring it into your home.
You have received something from the Clerk’s Office in Suffolk County where you used to live. You open the envelope and find that you are being commanded to appear in court for something called an Arraignment.
You read further to find that Lisa Liar, your old flame, has claimed that you assaulted her last month. Further she says it was a Boston domestic violence incident.
Now what? Is it time to stand yourself against the wall and assume the position?
Not quite yet.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Massachusetts Criminal Summonses
No, your life is not over.
The summons that you have received indicates that a criminal complaint for Massachusetts assault has been issued against you. Yes, you need to show up for the arraignment. Yes, you have a criminal case pending against you But, no, all is not lost.
“Does this mean that I have been found guilty?”
No, you have merely been charged. Furthermore, that may actually be reversible.
“You mean I can call the court and tell them that Lisa is simply living up to her last name?”
No. At the arraignment, if not before, you may be able to get the complaint dismissed so that the allegations can be sent to a clerk magistrate’s hearing. There, if successful, you may be able to prevent the complaint from really issuing and therefore preventing it ever appearing on your record.
“I don’t know how to do that. Are you sure I can’t just call? How about if I call the prosecutor? I can be pretty convincing…!”
Understand that the prosecutor has already decided that you are guilty.
Therefore, any statements you make to that office can be used against you. Sometimes even twisted against you. It does not matter how convincing you usually are.
“So…what can I do?”
Well, you do have the right to simply go to the arraignment unrepresented and maybe have a court-appointed Boston criminal lawyer given to you for a small fee. As a Boston criminal lawyer for about 25 years, I have seen some very good, and some very bad, defense lawyers The only thing, though, is that attorney, regardless of how good or bad/she is, will know little about the case at the time to try to get the complaint dismissed and reverted back for a hearing. Heck, you can even represent yourself for that matter.
“So…I’m sunk, right?”
Well, gee, not necessarily. You may want to actually hire an attorney to try to work behind the scenes before the arraignment and, at the very least, be prepared to fully represent you at the arraignment and beyond. That way, you can understnd the process as you enter into it as you appear at the court date.
“But don’t private lawyers cost money?”
Yes. We do. In fact, you are likely to pay more for a very experienced Boston criminal lawyer than someone less experienced.
“But is it worth it?”
Well, that depends on what price you put on a matter that could destroy your career, family and perhaps take away your freedom very shortly. Of course, there is no guarantee that an experienced criminal lawyer will get you through the process unscathed…but it does improve your chances!
Your money. Your liberty. Your choice.
If you have received a criminal summons and are not sure what to do, call me to schedule a free initial consultation.