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Superior Court Criminal Charges in Massachusetts

As a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer, superior court criminal charges carry substantially great penalties than those that remain in district court in Massachusetts.

While the district court can only impose a sentence of 2.5 years in the house of correction, a Superior Court Judge is only limited by the statutory maximum in terms of imposing a jail sentence.

Additionally, a district court judge can only sentence a defendant to the house of correction while a Superior Court judge can impose State prison time.

A criminal charge in Massachusetts always starts in the district court with an arraignment. Most serious criminal charges do not carry jurisdiction in the district court. For example, if an individual is charged with Rape or Trafficking in Narcotics, the district court has no final jurisdiction over these charges.

How does a Superior Court criminal charge start

Once the defendant is arraigned in district court, the case will be scheduled for a probable cause hearing.

A probable cause hearing is when the Commonwealth is required to call witnesses to establish probable cause for the offense. Often probable cause hearings are scheduled, continued but never held because once a defendant is indicted by a grand jury the right to a probable cause hearing is lost.

What does it mean to be indicted on a Massachusetts criminal charge

When a defendant is indicted on a criminal charge, it means that a grand jury has found probable cause for the offense and it will be brought to superior court. An indictment is how formal charges are brought in superior court. In district court, formal charges are brought by way of a criminal complaint while in superior court most cases are brought to the court after indictment by a grand jury or by a finding of probable cause in the district court.

If you face a superior court criminal offense, depending on the charge, you face significant potential for jail time in either the house of correction or State prison as well as numerous other consequences if there is a conviction.

When you are charged with a Superior Court criminal charge you face a serious felony offense that requires you to hire a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer. You can reach Attorney DelSignore at 781-686-5924 or 508-455-4755 to discuss any criminal charge pending in either Fall River Superior Court, Brockton Superior Court or Worcester Superior Court.