What about a Clerk's Hearing, does that go on my CORI?
No! If you have a Clerk's Hearing to determine if criminal charges are issued you are very fortunate. Although the standard at this point in the proceedings is vary low (probable cause), it is a one time opportunity to quash a criminal proceeding before charges are brought and before there is any entry on your CORI. There is no more cost effective point at which to hire an attorney. It is typically less costly to hire counsel here because the hearing is typically heard and decided in one appearance. A skilled attorney may be able to preempt criminal charges, even if there is probable cause. You should definitely at least consult with an attorney if you have a Clerk's hearing.
If I already have criminal charges why bother with a lawyer of there is no jail penalty?
Even if you only pay a fine, a criminal conviction on your CORI can have negative impact for life. With a CORI, you may be denied public housing or subsidized housing (such as Section 8). Mass employers can refuse to hire you, even if you are qualified for the job. (Employers can only ask about felony convictions, and about misdemeanor convictions on the last 5 years (with some exceptions). They can't ask about arrests without conviction. You may be unable to volunteer at your child's school or sports events, or other volunteer work with your children, the elderly or disabled adults. A CORI may prevent you from becoming a foster or adoptive parent. I doubt that our legislature ever intended for convictions to carry the long term consequences that they do in our day and age. However, you should think long and hard when deciding what to do about potential or pending criminal charges. You only have one chance to get this decision right. Call an attorney and get advice.