Suffolk County Criminal Court

Suffolk County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Suffolk County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Suffolk County.

What is Jury Deliberation?

After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.

Appealing a Criminal Conviciton

A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.

Suffolk County Criminal Court

Suffolk County Criminal Court

What if I can’t afford an attorney?

The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.

Suffolk County Criminal Court hearings

Criminal hearings in Suffolk County will take place at the Suffolk County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Suffolk County Criminal Court Locations.

Mandatory Appearances in Suffolk County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Suffolk County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.

Where can I get help for my Suffolk County criminal case?

The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Suffolk County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.

Jury by Trial Right

The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.

Defendant Sentencing

At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.

Suffolk County Prosecutor

For criminal cases in Suffolk County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Suffolk County. The Suffolk County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Suffolk County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.

Arraignments in Suffolk County

During an arraignment in Suffolk County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Suffolk County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Suffolk County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.

Suffolk County Criminal Court Locations

  • Suffolk County Superior Court

    Address: 3 Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108
    Phone: 617-788-8175 (Civil)

  • Chelsea District Court

    Address: 120 Broadway, Chelsea, MA 02150
    Phone: 617-660-9200 Fax: 617-660-9215

  • Boston Housing Court

    Address: 24 New Chardon Street, Boston, MA 02114
    Phone: 617-788-8485 Fax: 617-788-8981

  • Suffolk Juvenile Court

    Address: 24 New Chardon Street, Boston, MA 02114
    Phone: 617-788-8525 Fax: 617-788-8991

  • Brighton Division, Boston Municipal Court Department

    Address: 52 Academy Hill Road, Brighton, MA 02135
    Phone: 617-782-6540 Fax: 617-254-2127

  • Central Division of the Boston Municipal Court

    Address: 24 New Chardon Street, Boston, MA 02114
    Phone: 617-788-8400 (Civil) Fax: 617-788-8675

  • Charlestown Division, Boston Municipal Court Department

    Address: 3 City Square, Charlestown, MA 02129
    Phone: 617-242-5400 Fax: 617-242-1677

  • Dorchester Division, Boston Municipal Court Department

    Address: 510 Washington Street, Dorchester, MA 02124
    Phone: 617-288-9500 Fax: 617-436-8250

  • East Boston Division, Boston Municipal Court Department

    Address: 37 Meridian Street, East Boston, MA 02128
    Phone: 617-569-7550 Fax: 617-561-4988

  • Roxbury Division, Boston Municipal Court Department

    Address: 85 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA 02119
    Phone: 617-427-7000 Fax: 617-541-0286

  • South Boston Division, Boston Municipal Court Department

    Address: 535 East Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127
    Phone: 617-268-9292 Fax: 617-268-7321

  • West Roxbury Division, Boston Municipal Court Department

    Address: 445 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
    Phone: 617-971-1200 Fax: 617-983-0243

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