Doug has prosecuted traffic matters as an Assistant DA (1978-86), defended traffic offenses as a private attorney (1986-99) and presided over hundreds of traffic violation/misdemeanor jury and non-jury trials as a District Court Judge.
Doug has a strong working knowledge of the process and the appropriate defense preparation for both clerk’s hearings and courtroom trials. As Doug explains…
“Many residents of Massachusetts do not realize that they have substantial due process rights resulting from the issuance of a traffic ticket or misdemeanor criminal traffic offense where police were not present.
The first right of due process is a clerk’s hearing, something of which all charged persons should avail themselves.
Clerks generally have more legal discretion in disposition of these cases, as their job, in part, is to assist the Court is avoiding over-congestion of the formal Courtroom setting. Clerks also have the right and privilege of using good common sense.
As a District Court judge for 17 years, and as a former Assistant District Attorney and private lawyer, I know what the Clerks can and cannot do, what presentation they expect of litigants and lawyers, and to what degree they can terminate a case before it is converted to full formal charges in the District Court.
Many matters can be resolved at the Clerk’s hearing. However, if the police and/or the private citizen complainant persuade the Clerk otherwise, all litigants have a second right of due process: trial before a judge (traffic) and/or a jury (misdemeanor crimes).
Any litigant who wants a trial may have a trial. However, a lay litigant stands very little chance against a police officer and/or an Assistant District Attorney. A litigant needs a lawyer with years of experience and knowledge of the court personnel to navigate through all the necessary discovery, preparation for trial (direct and cross-examination, potential hiring of an expert, etc…) and the trial itself to increase the probabilities of success.
Unchallenged traffic tickets may cost a litigant $1,000 – $2,000 in insurance surcharges and sometimes a 60-day to one-year suspension of license. A misdemeanor traffic conviction can result in a lifetime criminal history. No litigant should be cavalier about a traffic offense. Hiring an experienced lawyer is a worthwhile investment.”
Doug can be reached anytime at (508) 243-4877, his email at email@example.com, or at his office at 8E Pleasant Street, 2nd Floor, South Natick, MA.