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
  • Waltham District Court: Pretrial Probation for Non-Citizen Charged With Domestic Assault and Battery

    The defendant is not a citizen. He has several post graduate degrees and is well known in the high tech industry. Several weeks ago his girlfriend accused him of attacking her and beating her. He was charged with domestic assault and battery under G.L. c. 265 Section 13M. Our office was retained to represent the man. We were able to get him pretrial probation pursuant to G.L. c. 276 Section 87. The case will be dismissed after a short term of probation.

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  • Westborough District Court: Pretrial Probation For Man Charged With Domestic Assault and Battery and Witness Intimidation

    On March 16, 2018 Southborough, Massachusetts Police were dispatched to a residence for a call on a domestic disturbance. They were informed that the defendant and the victim, his father, were engaged in a fight in the home. When they arrived the met with the defendant who admitted that after an argument he grabbed his father by the throat and tried to choke him. The defendant further admitted that he took the house phone and broke it to prevent the victim from calling the police. He was charged with violating G.L. c. 265 Section 13M, domestic assault and battery and G.L. c. 268 Section 13, witness intimidation. He hired our office to represent him. Today, Attorney Neyman was able to get pretrial probation under G.L. c. 276 Section 87 for the defendant. All charges will be dismissed.

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  • Worcester District Court: Pretrial Diversion Granted for Graduate Student Charged with Disorderly Conduct, Trespass, Disturbing the Peace and Resisting Arrest

    The defendant is a graduate student with a 4.0 GPA. On April 6, 2018 she was in line at a club in Worcester. She and her friends were denied entry as one of the security staff believed one of the friends to be intoxicated. The group began to argue with the staff and a police officer was called. The officer alleged that the defendant refused to leave the premises and began arguing with the officer. She was advised to leave the property again by the officer. She refused and threatened to hire a lawyer and complained that her rights were being violated. Once the officer determined that the woman was not going to leave he went to arrest her. She resisted. She was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct, G.L. c. 272 Section 53, trespass, G.L. c. 266 Section 120, disturbing the peace, G.L. c. 272 Section 53 and resisting arrest, G.L. c. 268 Section 32B. Attorney Neyman was hired to represent the woman. Our office was able to get pretrial diversion pursuant to G.L. c. 276A prior to arraignment. The case is dismissed.

    Read More in Resisting Arrest

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In less than two months Stephen Neyman got my old conviction vacated. I now have no criminal record. Paul W. Boston, Massachusetts