If So, We Can Help With Your Show Cause Hearing.
In some instances, instead of being arrested, you will be given a criminal citation or mailed a summons to appear. Even though you were not arrested, the citation or the summons require your immediate attention and you will benefit from speaking with an attorney about how to proceed.
The terms “Show Cause Hearing,” “Magistrate’s Hearing,” and “Clerk’s Hearing” all refer to the same thing. A Show Cause Hearing is a preliminary hearing which marks the first time the court is involved in a criminal matter. According to Massachusetts General Law chapter 218 section 35A, a police officer must request a hearing for most misdemeanor offenses before you can be formally charged. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether or not there is enough probable cause to believe you committed a crime. If it is determined that there is enough probable cause, a criminal complaint will issue.
What Happens at a Show Cause Hearing?
In order to make the determination if there is enough probable cause, a hearing is conducted and all of the parties are under oath. This hearing is conducted by a clerk in a room at the courthouse, but it is not done in a courtroom or with a judge. Even though the venue is less formal, it is a critical step in the development of a criminal case against you and you should consult with an attorney.
If the police have filed the application for a complaint then a police officer will be present. It will not be the same officer involved in the investigation of the alleged criminal conduct. If a private citizen has filed the application for a complaint, then that person will be present. The clerk will hear from all parties, including you. Show Cause Hearings are recorded. If you choose to speak you must understand that anything you say can be used against you in future proceedings. You should not make a decision about whether or not to speak without first consulting with an attorney.
The Clerk Found Probable Cause. What Happens Next?
More often than not, the complaint issues. This is because the probable cause standard is very low. The Clerk only needs to be convinced that it is “more likely than not” that the alleged criminal conduct occurred. Once the complaint issues, a defendant will be scheduled for an arraignment in front of a judge and prosecution will begin. During the arraignment, the charges will be officially read and a formal entry will be made on your criminal history.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for a Show Cause Hearing?
Show Cause Hearings are crucial moments in which legal representation by Murphy & Rudolf can have an enormous impact on your criminal history. Criminal histories in Massachusetts are documented on what is known as a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information).
Our attorneys understand how important it is to avoid having a complaint issue. We will work with you in advance of the hearing to develop the best possible arguments to help convince a Clerk not to issue the complaint. If your attorney is successful this means there will be no entry on your criminal history. Criminal histories impact every area of your life – work, school, housing. Even the smallest criminal charge can have a lasting impact. Legal representation at a Show Cause Hearing is the best way to help you protect your criminal history.
This Is My First Offense, Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
If this is your first interaction with the criminal court it is even more essential that you consult with an attorney. If the complaint issues you will no longer have a clean criminal history. Additionally, first time offenders are often in the best position to convince a clerk that it would not be in the interest of justice for a complaint to issue precisely because you have had no prior interaction with the court.
Call Murphy & Rudolf, LLP Today at (508) 570-3037 to Discuss a Plan for Your Show Cause Hearing.
The Attorneys at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP are ready to represent you during these critical Show Cause Hearings and to put you in the best possible position to convince a Clerk not to issue a complaint. If you have been summonsed to appear at a Show Cause, Clerk’s or Magistrate’s hearing, you will benefit by consulting with an attorney from Murphy & Rudolf, LLP.