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Pre-Trial Probation

Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 276 Section 87, the trial court may place a person on pre-trial probation. Pre-trial probation is a court-approved agreement or contract between the prosecutor and defendant before a trial or a plea of guilty. Under such an agreement, a defendant is placed on probation, in the care of a probation officer, for a certain period of time and under certain conditions before he is convicted of any crime. Probation may be supervised or unsupervised. In return, the charges will be dismissed upon the defendant’s successful completion of his probation. If, on the other hand, the defendant violates any condition of his probation, then the charges will not be dismissed and the case will proceed normally.

I Violated My Pretrial Probation in Massachusetts. Can the Judge Send Me to Jail?

Absolutely not. A defendant cannot be imprisoned for violating his pre-trial probation because he has neither been convicted nor pled guilty to any crime. However, a defendant who violates pre-trial probation can be held with or without bail if the court so decides at a bail hearing.

Can the Conditions of My Pretrial Probation be Modified?

Although a pre-trial probation agreement is entered with the defendant’s consent, the court retains the authority to modify the conditions of probation as long as the change is not the equivalent of a new punishment. Probationary conditions signed by the defendant have no force without the court order, and probation derives enforceability from a court order, not from the defendant’s agreement. Common probationary conditions include participation in rehabilitative programs, performance of community service, periodic reporting to probation and seeking and retaining employment. The court may also modify the time period of probation, provided that it does so within the original probationary period or within a reasonable time after that period has ended.

All conditions of probation must be reasonably related to probationary goals in order to survive constitutional scrutiny. Probationary goals are typically rehabilitative, but they may be punitive, retributive or deterrent.

Pretrial Probation may be the Only Way to Avoid Deportation

Sometimes district attorneys offer a continuance without a finding thinking they are being generous to a defendant. Regardless of their intentions a continuance without a finding (CWOF) might result in deportation. CWOFs are considered convictions for immigration purposes. If you are not an American citizen you should ask your lawyer about this. We have been successful getting prosecutors to agree to pretrial probation in cases where our clients face deportation. Non-citizens charged with minor drug offenses represent a large contingent of people we represent with this problem. We get our clients pretrial probation when necessary.

Pre-trial probation is not widely available, and usually less serious offenses are involved when it is available. It is not an option after a plea or admission. The current economic slump will continue to exacerbate the overcrowded conditions in Massachusetts prisons, and that will doubtlessly result in institutional pressure on practitioners to know the probation system inside and out. In his twenty-years of experience defending criminal charges, Stephen Neyman has gained unparalleled knowledge of probation procedures. If you have any questions regarding pre-trial probation or other criminal matters, call the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. at 617-263-6800 or contact us online today. Si usted habla español contacte a nuestro asistente legal Maria Rivera en 617-877-6270.

Case Results >> Pre-Trial Probation
  • Pretrial Probation for College Student Charged With Larceny From a Building and Malicious Destruction to Property Under $1,200 and Breaking and Entering

    In April of 2020 a large commercial gym was closed due to COVID. Three college students who lived near the gym had been spending the day drinking. One of the students convinced the others to break into the gym. The three did. When they entered they took some of the equipment and intentionally damaged the interior of the premises. Security videotape was provided to the police. Still photos were generated from the videotape. The police department circulated the photos to the entire department.  Several months later one of the officers responded to a noise complaint at an apartment building near the gym. When the occupant opened the door the officer immediately identified him from the photo that had been circulated. The officer inquired about the gym. The man confessed and identified the other participants, one of whom hired our office. They were all charged with malicious destruction to property over $1,200, a felony under G.L. Chapter 266 section 127, larceny from a building in violation of G.L. Chapter 266 section 20 and breaking and entering under G.L. Chapter 266 section 16A. Attorney Neyman succeeded in getting pretrial probation for 3 months. The defendant, who is an international student will not have any immigration issues or a criminal record. 

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  • Pretrial Probation for Non-Citizen Charged With Assault and Battery

    Our client is a non-citizen student in Boston. In February of 2020 he and his girlfriend were in a pizza restaurant. It was late at night and the establishment was closing at the time our client arrived. Our client inquired as to why the restaurant was closing over one hour prior to the indicated closing time. The owner became verbally abusive. Our client argued back. In a matter of seconds a fight erupted. The police were called. The restaurant owner and our client made statements to the responding officers. Our client was subsequently charged with assault and battery under G.L. c. 265 section 13A. COVID delayed the proceeding significantly in this case. Nevertheless, we were able to get pretrial probation pursuant to G.L. c. 276 section 87 for our client. This will not impact his citizenship efforts. 

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  • Pretrial Probation for Man Charged With Domestic Assault and Battery Terminated Early

    Several weeks ago we were able to get our client pretrial probation under G.L. c. 276 section 87 on a domestic assault and battery case G.L. c. 265 section 13M. Unfortunately the client, who is from another country, had a family emergency requiring him to return to his home country. Were he to leave with pretrial probation not completed it is likely that he would have been denied reentry into the United States. Accordingly, terminating pretrial probation was necessary. We negotiated termination with the district attorney's office and with the probation department. The case is now dismissed. 

    Read More in Domestic Assault and Battery

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"We went to trial and won. He saved me fifteen years mandatory in state prison for this case." A.C. Boston, Massachusetts
★★★★★
"I hired him and he got the case dismissed before I had to go into a courtroom. My school never found out and if they had I would have lost my academic scholarships. He really saved my college career." Melissa C. Cold Spring, New York, October 2013
★★★★★
"My union rep told me to call Steve Neyman. From the get go I felt comfortable with him. He took the time to talk to me about my case whenever I needed .... He even gave me his personal cell number and took all my calls. We won the case and I kept my job." Bart L. S.
★★★★★
"The best criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts. Takes all of his client's calls at any time of the day or night. He was always there for me and my family. Steve saved my life." Jacquille D. Brockton, Massachusetts
★★★★★
"In less than two months Stephen Neyman got my old conviction vacated. I now have no criminal record." Paul W. Boston, Massachusetts