Being accused of a crime can destroy your life. It takes a toll on your relationships, your job, your finances, and your emotional health. The accusation of any crime — large or small, first or repeat offense, without or without a charge or conviction — can change your life forever.
Your future may depend first on your choice of legal representation. Whether or not you committed a crime, if you have been accused of, charged with, or are being investigated for a crime, you need to have experienced and dedicated attorneys in your corner.
The attorneys at McBride Law have used their experience and compassion to represent hundreds of clients in Quincy, Massachusetts, and throughout the state who have been investigated and charged with misdemeanors and felonies. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
Crimes in Massachusetts are charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the severity of the crime as defined by state laws. Some crimes, such as domestic assault or DUI, may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, based on the circumstances.
Misdemeanors are generally less-serious crimes that carry lighter penalties than felonies. Examples include petty theft, disorderly conduct, trespassing, campus crimes, simple assault, and possession of marijuana for personal use. Penalties for misdemeanor convictions usually involve fines, community service, probation, and jail sentences of less than one year.
Felonies are more egregious crimes with much stiffer penalties, based on the “class” or severity of the crime. Examples include murder, rape and sexual assault, aggravated assault, kidnapping, drug manufacture and distribution, tax evasion, and grand larceny. Penalties usually include state prison sentences in excess of one year, and significant fines, restitution, probation, and community service.
The general process of the criminal court is similar for all crimes. Once you are charged with a crime by the prosecuting attorney’s office, you will be arrested. You might not be arrested for some misdemeanors but are given a court date at which you must appear to enter a plea to the charge.
You will first be arraigned in court. During an arraignment, the charges are read, and you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you have not yet retained an attorney, you will be given time to do so. If the crime requires bail, you will be unable to leave jail until the bond is set and paid.
Some misdemeanors can be disposed of during the initial court appearance. For example, if you plead guilty to a petty theft charge, the judge will likely render a verdict and your punishment.
Most cases are not disposed of during arraignment and require scheduling future court appearances. If your case goes to trial, you will appear with your attorney for a pre-trial conference, during the trial itself, and later for the verdict rendered by the judge or jury.
Because even a minor criminal charge can seriously impact your life, it is wise to retain a criminal defense attorney to represent you. If you have little money to hire an attorney, you may qualify to have a public defender appointed by the court to represent you. While that is better than you attempting to represent yourself, you should remember that public defenders carry tremendous caseloads and may not be able to give your case the time and attention it needs. This lack of time often leads to a public defender’s recommendation that you accept a plea deal offered by the prosecution. That is not always the best outcome for a defendant — merely the most convenient for the public defender.
A private criminal defense attorney will devote far greater time and attention to your case and fight aggressively for the best available outcome. It is true that with criminal defense, you get what you pay for.
McBride Law has helped hundreds of clients accused of crimes in Quincy, Norwell, Hingham, Weymouth, Boston, and throughout Massachusetts. Protecting your rights and helping you pursue the best available result is always the priority. If you have been charged with a crime, get experienced, reliable legal counsel right away. Call McBride law today and invest in taking your life back.