How to Beat a Criminal Charge
(Even When You Think You Are Guilty)
If you are accused of a criminal charge, and you admit to yourself that you did what they say you are accused of, that does not mean you should just plead guilty.
If you made a mistake, feel terrible about it, and just want to get this over with that is understandable. And it is honorable to want to accept responsibility for your actions.
But feeling guilty does not mean you should plead guilty.
There are still creative legal defense options, and good reasons to consider getting the best deal for yourself. You deserve a second chance and don’t deserve harsh punishment for a foolish mistake.
The fact is, a criminal conviction on your record can be a big deal. It will show up on any background check, and can limit future options for your career, and seriously impact your life.
Limiting your future opportunities, especially for a young person, who’s never been in trouble before, and is highly unlikely to ever run afoul of the law again. doesn’t help anyone.
It is not in the best interests of justice, and society as a whole.
But prosecutors are always very busy, and sometimes a little lazy. So it is up to the defense to propose these alternatives and fight for them, on your behalf.
Alternatives to Pleading Guilty
These are not just legal loopholes or technicalities. These are laws written into the Massachusetts criminal statutes on purpose, and you are entitled to use them. There are a number of options to obtain a dismissal prior to arraignment. Sometimes you can even tweak the rules, and do this if an arraignment has already happened.
A pretrial diversion is simply diverting the charge from the Massachusetts criminal court systems, provided certain conditions are met, as set by the judge. This option is listed under Chapter 276a of the Massachusetts statutes.
We file a motion, affidavit, and memorandum to divert the case to some type of alternate program or community service requirement.
If the judge agrees, and you complete the terms of the program, the judge can void the charges as if it never happened, without appearing on your record.
Massachusetts Pretrial Diversion Eligibility
To be eligible for a pretrial diversion, the defendant must be between 17 and 21 years of age, and must be charged with a non-violent offense. Typical charges where pretrial diversions are accepted include minor in possession of alcohol, shoplifting, and criminal traffic offenses.
A judge has complete discretion as to whether or not to allow a pretrial diversion, whether or not the DA agrees.
111e “Drug Dependent Diversion”
Similar to a pretrial diversion is a 111e, which is reserved for drug-dependent individuals who the court agrees would benefit from drug rehabilitation.
So instead of a criminal charge for a Possession of a Class B Controlled Substance, the defendant is diverted to a rehab program and closely monitored by the courts.
If the program is completed, the charge is voided.
A pretrial probation is similar to a pretrial diversion but can be applied more broadly.
Eligible is generally for cases that aren’t that very serious, and when the client has no record. If you do not get in any trouble during the probationary period, the case is dropped and the criminal charge won’t issue.
Another great thing about a pre-trial probation is that it is generally without any requirements to do anything. You don’t have to go to meetings, counseling, or do community service. It is largely unsupervised.
You also aren’t admitted to any guilt or wrongdoing. That way, even if you do get in trouble. All that happens is that the case comes back, but you haven’t given up your right to fight the case.
A pre-trial probation is always a great result and absolutely a win for any criminal charge. Here is a recent case I had where I got my client a pretrial probation disposition:
Free Criminal Case Evaluation on Any Massachusetts Arrest or Charge
As you can see, these legal situations are a little bit complicated. And, to be perfectly honest, most criminal defense lawyers in Massachusetts don’t use these motions and techniques at all.
But I’ve had some very good success and outstanding results for my clients.
While they don’t apply to everyone, and won’t always work, it is always worth the effort to explore every possible alternative to a criminal conviction on your record.
If you are facing a criminal charge in Massachusetts, please contact me for a free consultation on any offense.
Even if you think you are guilty, you deserve fair treatment under the law. Let me make sure you have all the legal protections afforded to you.