Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

What Process is Involved in an Illegal Firearm Charge?

Massachusetts law enforcement arrested a 47-year-old man at the Ruggles MBTA station in Boston. On the man’s person, law enforcement discovered a loaded pistol, three spare magazines that were fully loaded, a knife, and a bullet-proof vest. Law enforcement has also stated that the man is suspected of compiling chemicals that can be used to manufacture explosives. Additionally, law enforcement states that the man adheres to an anti-government extremist ideology.

Massachusetts has a rigorous body of law addressing what constitutes illegal handgun usage. If you face a criminal charge related to a firearm or other weapon, the Massachusetts criminal process can be nerve-wracking. In hopes of making this process easier to understand, the following briefly reviews the common phases in the criminal trial process. Remember that you are presumed innocent until you are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Citation or Arrest

If law enforcement views your offense as a less serious one, you will likely be given a paper citation to appear in court. Many crimes, however, result in an arrest, which means that you will be brought to the police department for processing. You will then be given a future date for an arraignment unless you are held without bail. You will likely also be searched during this time.

Hearing for Misdemeanors

For many misdemeanors, a clerk’s magistrate hearing will occur next, during this time the Commonwealth must identify enough evidence that allows them to charge a person with a crime.

The Arraignment Process

Arraignments are often held for people charged with the most serious crimes. Some of the reasons why a Massachusetts District Court will ask a person to appear for an arraignment include that a person was arrested and placed in jail, a person received a summon to appear without being arrested, and a person appeared at a clerk magistrate’s hearing the clerk found probable cause to charge the individual with a crime.

Pre-Trial Conferences and Negotiations

Before a trial, your lawyer will attempt to negotiate a plea bargain. This means that in exchange for a guilty plea, the prosecution might agree to a lesser sentence.

Pre-Trial Hearings

As part of settlement negotiations, a case will sometimes have other hearings to assess other pre-trial results.

Criminal Trial

If a case proceeds to trial without a plea bargain, the trial process will likely include several stages. These stages include things like opening statements, evidence presentation, and closing statements.

Verdict and Sentencing

If a court determines that a person is guilty of a criminal offense, the judge will likely sentence a person immediately if the hearing involved a misdemeanor. If a felony is involved, sentencing will often take much longer.

Obtain the Help of a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

Remember, while the United States Constitution acknowledges certain gun rights, these firearm rights are not absolute. If you are convicted of a firearm-related offense, you can suddenly find yourself facing a variety of challenges. One of the best things to do is contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after finding out about a firearm charge. Attorney Edward R Molari will then remain committed to making sure that you have the strongest legal defense possible. Contact attorney Molari today for assistance.