Clerk / Magistrate’s Hearing
You should call the Law Office of Michael E. Perpall if you have received notice of magistrate’s hearing on complaint application and are unsure of how to proceed. Magistrate’s hearings, also known as a clerk magistrate hearing, offer a great an opportunity for you to address a clerk regarding potential criminal charges. A Magistrate’s hearing is presided over by a clerk magistrate, not a judge. The right to a hearing is granted by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 218, Section 35A.
Clerk’s hearings are not a matter of public record, meaning if the clerk declines to issue the criminal complaint against you at the hearing, then it is as if nothing happened at all. This is important because once criminal charges issue, they become a matter of public record, and may result in an unfavorable background check by an employer, landlord, or other entity. If the clerk finds probable cause to issue the complaint, they may be inclined to still “hold-back” the complaint in the clerk magistrate’s session for a defined period of time and upon the agreement to satisfy conditions set by the clerk. This outcome is great because it keeps your criminal record clean.
Far too often individuals decide to attend clerk’s hearings without legal representation. This is not advisable because an unrepresented defendant who is unfamiliar with the legal and practical aspects of a clerk’s hearing risks having a criminal complaint issue which can have devastating ramifications. Hiring a skilled attorney, who understands how clerk magistrates and the local police view certain allegations, can increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome on your behalf. It is important to contact Attorney Perpall at (508) 820-9966 for a free consultation to discuss your options.