What to do about a Criminal Citation in Framingham District court
If you received a criminal citation to appear in the Framingham District Court, these are the next steps to follow to protect your rights.
Mail in the Citation to the Clerk's OfficeAfter you receive a criminal citation, either in the mail or in person from a police officer, you only have 4 days to request a Clerk Magistrate's Hearing.
Mail it to the address on the citation, or even bring it to the Framingham District court Clerk's office in person.
You will then be notified of your hearing date within a week or two. The hearing date is usually about a month out, but it depends on the court calendar.
A criminal citation is not an arrest, but is a serious criminal accusation that can result in being charged with a crime.
Go to your Hearing Date and try to prevent the Charge from IssuingDress appropriately, and be respectful at the hearing. The Clerk-Magistrate is not a Judge, but the format at the hearing is similar.
At the hearing, a police prosecutor will review the police officer's report and usually ask the Clerk to issue the criminal complaint, and ask that you are formally charged with a crime.
Your attorney (or yourself) can argue that there is not sufficient probable cause for a criminal charge to go forward.
While the standard for probable cause is not very high, the Clerk magistrate has wide discretion to not issue a criminal complaint for a variety of reasons. If the police have enough evidence to charge you (and they often do), it can come down to making an argument that charging you with a crime is not in the interest of justice.
Consider getting a lawyer to represent you.An experienced attorney can often stop this charge before it is even issued, and help you avoid having a charge on your record.
But because it is not required, you aren't entitled to a court-appointed lawyer for a Clerk Magistrate's hearing.