If an individual in Massachusetts is taken into custody, there is no guarantee that he or she will be charged with a crime. In some cases, a prosecutor may decide to drop the charge after reading the police report. It is also possible that a judge determines that there is insufficient evidence to charge a person with a crime. How a prosecutor views a given offense may play a role in whether he or she chooses to proceed with a case.
For instance, the prosecutor may have a policy against pursuing marijuana possession cases. However, that person may decide to prosecute a case if failing to do so is likely to create a backlash within the community. This may be especially true if a prosecutor has political aspirations of any kind. Prosecutors do have the option of reducing the charges an individual faces if a conviction on that charge still serves the public interest.
Prosecutors can ask a grand jury to decide if there is enough evidence to charge a person. Generally, they don’t need to reveal all of the evidence that they have against an individual, and grand jury proceedings are not open to the public, unlike a traditional trial. It is important to note that a prosecutor can still choose to file charges even if the grand jury doesn’t indict a defendant.
Anyone who is charged with a misdemeanor or felony may want to hire a criminal defense attorney. Doing so may make it possible to more effectively refute evidence used to file a charge against an individual. In some cases, evidence may be suppressed or otherwise thrown out before a trial starts. This may make it easier to negotiate a plea deal or get a case dismissed before it gets to a jury.