Clerk-Magistrate Hearings

While a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing is often the first step in a criminal case, it is also a crucial opportunity for the accused person to end the case before it gets any further. If you receive a notice to appear at a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing, you should obtain an effective criminal defense attorney with proven experience in resolving cases for his clients before the accusations even get off the ground.

Boston Clerk-Magistrate Hearing Attorney David J. Grimaldi has successfully defended numerous clients at Clerk-Magistrate Hearings. From accusations including assault and battery, shoplifting, larceny, motor vehicle offenses, and beyond, Attorney Grimaldi has persuaded clerk-magistrates throughout Greater Boston not to issue charges against his clients. By winning these Clerk-Magistrate Hearings, Attorney Grimaldi saved his clients from entries on their criminal records and months of stressful court proceedings.

The process for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing, also called a Show Cause Hearing, often begins when one person accuses another person of a crime, typically a misdemeanor, that the police did not witness themselves. Based on the civilian complaint, and perhaps after some investigation, a police officer or other authorized person then files an “Application for Criminal Complaint” with the court. The application will set out the prospective charges, and it is often supported by a police report or “Statement of Facts” concerning the alleged incident. After reviewing the application to ensure it is properly filed, the court will mail a summons or notice to appear to the accused person for a scheduled Clerk-Magistrate Hearing.

The Clerk-Magistrate Hearing is a very important phase in the life of a case, and preparation is essential. If the accused person does not appear for the hearing, the criminal complaint will typically issue and the person will be summonsed for an arraignment on the criminal charges. An arraignment would cause an entry on the person’s criminal record (or “CORI”) and likely result in months of criminal litigation before a judge and even a jury. Fair to say, almost no one wants that for themselves. Therefore, if you receive a notice to appear at a Clerk Magistrate Hearing, you should absolutely respond with a successful criminal defense attorney with actual experience in preventing charges from issuing in the first place.

At the hearing, a clerk-magistrate will hear from both sides of the case to decide whether there is sufficient evidence, called probable cause, to believe a crime occurred. A skilled lawyer will question, or cross-examine, the witnesses against you and challenge the truth and accuracy of their claims. An accomplished lawyer can also present evidence in your own defense, including testimony, documents, photographs, phone records, text messages, and videos. Whether you should testify yourself, of course, is a very important decision that may have serious ramifications, and you should only decide to testify after consultation with an experienced attorney. At the conclusion of the hearing, a good lawyer will argue persuasively that the court should elect not to issue the proposed charges against you.

Boston Clerk-Magistrate Hearing Attorney David J. Grimaldi has successfully cross-examined witnesses of nearly every kind, from homicide detectives to local police, from eyewitnesses to medical experts. He has also presented evidence in support of his clients on numerous occasions, including witness testimony and exhibits. Finally, Attorney Grimaldi has successfully argued that the Court should find in his client’s favor on countless occasions, including at Clerk-Magistrate Hearings.

At the end of the hearing, the Clerk-Magistrate can make one of three decisions.

First, if the Clerk-Magistrate finds probable cause, he or she may issue the charges against the accused person. The Clerk-Magistrate will then schedule an arraignment date where the person will be formally charged before a judge. Anyone facing a Clerk-Magistrate’s Hearing certainly wants to avoid this outcome.

Second, if the Clerk-Magistrate does not find probable cause, he or she will dismiss the charges against you. At that moment, the case is over and it does not appear on your record. This is clearly an excellent result.

Third, sometimes the Clerk-Magistrate defers making a final decision for a period of time, such as six months, to see if there are any further allegations against the person, or to see if the situation can somehow be repaired. If the accused person successfully completes this period of deferment, the case will then be dismissed. While a longer route to victory, this is also a great result.

If you receive a notice to appear for a Clerk-Magistrate’s hearing, you should obtain a successful criminal defense lawyer to defend you. This is generally the last opportunity to ensure that you are not charged with a crime. The stakes could not be higher. Contact Attorney David J. Grimaldi at (617) 661-1529 or online today.

Client Reviews

Attorney David Grimaldi is a truly exceptional criminal defense lawyer. He represented me in a case in Suffolk Superior Court, and I know that I received the absolute best possible representation. Mr. Grimaldi met with me often, always kept me informed, answered my questions, and fought hard for...


I highly recommend David Grimaldi. He was always responsive and sympathetic to my situation, from the very first call at the height of my crisis until the case was eventually dismissed. In court he was articulate and clever without ever appearing to upset the other attorney or judge presiding. I...


At some point in our lives we all run into a situation we can not control and need help. I was lost and after 2 lawyers and no help in sight I got lucky and someone referred David Grimaldi to me for my federal case . After 19 days without even a chance for Bail/Bond, David stood up and fought for me...

Adam P.

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