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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 Nurse Charged With Improper Storage and Possession of Guns Terminated Early

    Several months ago we represented a nurse charged with improper storage of firearms under G.L. c. 140 section 131L. We resolved the case by way of pretrial probation for one year under G.L. c. 276 section 87. Our client requested that we try to terminate the probation early. We were able to do so. Pretrial probation is now over and the case is officially dismissed. 

    Read More in Gun and Weapons Charges 

  • Pretrial Probation For Accountant Charged With Domestic Assault and Battery

    Our client is an accountant who was charged with domestic assault and battery nearly three years ago. A conviction for these charges, G.L. c. 265 section 13M, would result in his termination of work and likely a suspension of his CPA license. Similarly, a continuance without a finding would be viewed as a conviction in his industry. The incident was witnessed by a stranger who claimed that our client pushed the victim into an alley and choked her on three occasions. The availability of the independent witness contributed to the district attorney's rejection of our request for pretrial probation on several occasions. At that point we opted to prepare for trial. Today, the day of trial, the district attorney's office revisited our request and agreed to a term of pretrial probation under G.L. c. 276 section 87. All charges will be dismissed shortly and our client will not have any adverse employment issues. 

    Read More in Pretrial Probation

  • Pretrial Probation for College Student Charged with Five Counts of Felony Larceny and Credit Fraud

    The defendant is a college student who had a major disagreement with a roommate that resulted in the two terminating their living arrangement. After they separated the victim noticed that her credit card had been charged in excess of $6,000 for miscellaneous merchandise. She contacted the police. Their investigation led them to charge our client with improper use of a credit card in violation of G.L. c. 266 section 37, larceny of a credit card under G.L. c. 266 section 37B, identity fraud under G.L. c. 266 section 37E, larceny from a building in violation of G.L. c. 266 section 20 and larceny by false pretenses under G.L. c. 266 section 34. Several of these charges are felonies under Massachusetts law. Our office was hired. After nearly a year of motions and investigation we were able to get the district attorney's office to agree to pretrial probation under G.L. c. 276 section 87. All charges will be dismissed in a few months. 

    Read More in Pretrial Probation 

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