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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 Airline Pilot Charged With Open and Gross Lewdness

    The defendant is a commercial airline pilot temporarily living in the greater Boston area. Last Fall, in part due to stress from the pandemic he could not sleep. Around 3:00 a.m. he went for a walk and sat down on a bench near a park. To relieve his stress he started masturbating. A truck driver observed this and called the local police. The police arrived and confronted the man about the accusation. He admitted to doing this. He was permitted to leave and received a summons for complaint charging open and gross lewdness, a felony pursuant to G.L. c. 272 section 16. Attorney Neyman was hired to defend him. At our suggestion our client was evaluated by a forensic psychologist who determined that the man presented no risk to the public or of reoffending. We provided a supporting report to the district attorney's office and they agreed to a resolution of pretrial probation G.L. c. 276 section 87. All charges will be dismissed. 

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  • Pretrial Probation Under G.L. c. 276 Section 87 Terminated Early

    Several months ago our client was placed in pretrial probation under G.L. c. 267 section 87 for a drug possession case G.L. c. 94C section 34 with the condition that he get a drug dependency evaluation. The evaluation came back favorable to our client. As a result we went back into court to move to terminate probation. That effort was successful today. 

    Read More in Drug Possession

  • Charges of Domestic Assault and Battery and Assault and Battery Means of a Dangerous Weapon to be Dismissed After Pretrial Probation

    Nearly two years ago the defendant and his girlfriend were in Massachusetts visiting for the weekend. They were staying at an upscale hotel having drinks in the bar. The two started arguing. The dispute escalated and the defendant then struck the victim with her purse in the back of the head. The police were called. The woman claimed that the defendant had been violent with her in the past. Two employees of the hotel bar claimed to have witnessed the attack as well. Our client was located in his room and arrested. He was charged with domestic assault and battery G.L. c. 265 section 13M and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon under G.L. c. 265 section 15A. Attorney Neyman was hired immediately. After two years of litigation we were able to get the district attorney's office and the judge to agree to pretrial probation under G.L. c. 276 section 87. In six months all charges will be dismissed. 

    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