Massachusetts Show Cause / Clerk Magistrate Hearing Representation in Plymouth County

Clerk Magistrate's Hearing (Show Cause Hearing)

In Massachusetts, if you are accused of a misdemeanor but not arrested, generally you are entitled to a show cause hearing, commonly referred to as a clerk magistrate’s hearing.  A show cause hearing is held to determine whether there is probable cause to believe the accused has committed a crime and whether a criminal complaint should issue against the accused.  You are not entitled to a clerk magistrate’s hearing if the charge is a felony, you are arrested on the charge, or the magistrate deems you are dangerous.

Benefits of Having an Attorney

The show cause hearing gives the accused an opportunity to avoid a criminal charge from issuing.  Attorney Kovach utilizes her criminal defense skills and show cause hearing expertise to zealously advocate for her clients at the hearing.  Having an experienced lawyer can help maximize the potential for avoiding a criminal charge issuing at the show cause hearing. Attorney Kovach diligently prepares for each clerk magistrate’s hearing, assuring the client’s facts are known to her.  At the clerk magistrate’s hearing Attorney Kovach can present testimony and or other evidence, including witness testimony, to best showcase your side of the story and discredit the complainant’s assertion that there is probable cause to believe you have committed a crime.

What to Expect at the Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing

The show cause hearing is presided over by a clerk or assistant clerk magistrate from a district court. The hearing typically occurs in a small hearing room instead of a court room and are not open to the public. Depending on the location of the hearing, it may be recorded. At the hearing, the applicant presents evidence, usually in the form of testimony, video, or documents, to convince the magistrate that there is probable cause to believe the accused has committed the crime as alleged. The accused is then given an opportunity to cross examine the accuser and witnesses, and finally present his or her own case to refute a finding of probable cause. The accused is allowed to present his or her own witnesses or other relevant evidence. The magistrate will inform the parties of his or her decision at the end of the hearing.

Potential Results of a Show Cause Hearing

  1. The magistrate determines there is no probable cause, the complaint against the accused does not issue and you are therefore are not charged with a crime.
  2. The clerk, after the conclusion of the show cause hearing, can hold or continue the application for an amount of time despite finding that probable cause exists to charge the accused with a crime. Typically, if the case is continued with a review date and there are no further allegations against the accused in that span of time, the magistrate closes the case out on the review date and the accused is never charged.
  3. The magistrate determines there is probable cause, followed by the issuance of a complaint and a date set for an arraignment.
There is no substitute for an experienced clerk magistrate’s hearing attorney on your side. Call today for your free consultation.

Law Office of Tamari Kovach



6 Main Street Extension Suite 604 Plymouth, MA 02360

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