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Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16558
Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney / Criminal Law Mentor
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Hello, I live in W. Massachusetts. On Friday 11/30/12, 8pm

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Hello, I live in W. Massachusetts. On Friday 11/30/12, 8pm I went to my village PO to pick up my mail, which I generally do twice a week, and in it I found a Notice of Next Event /Magistrate Hearing and Application for Criminal Complaint postmarked 11/23/12, with a hearing date for this coming Wed. 12/05/12, for an event that took place on Sun. 11/18 for alleged animal abuse, regarding the way I was walking my dog (on a long leash from my car, and an accidental tumble she took while doing so). Given it being the weekend, I have not had time to get/find a lawyer, will try to do so tomorrow Asap, but (1) need to know if a general lawyer is OK or ought I attempt to find a criminal lawyer to help me through this magistrate hearing? Or (2) dare I go w/o legal counsel in the event I cannot find someone who is available at such short notice? And (3) ought I try to find out how to apply for a continuance given the short notice I have had and the possibility that I may not be able to get legal help in this short amount of time, only 2 business days! I don't think this is enough time even to request a motion for continuance! And (4), is a continuance something I need legal help to do properly and safely, or do I just go to the court and ask them how to do it on my own - again- if I am unable to get a lawyer who is available in the brief time window I have before this Wednesday's scheduled hearing...? I am a complete novice in anything legal, have never had anything happen to me before! Am a total dog lover, would never intentionally or knowingly hurt my dog, the person who saw this unfortunate incident who went off at me contacted the police and the complainant now is the local village police chief (vs me). I would very much appreciate any help or advice, THANK YOU.
Nancy, Berkshires, MA
(12/03/12 @ 12:38 a.m.)

Alex Esquire :

Hello. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be glad to help you.

Alex Esquire :

Are you online with me?

Alex Esquire :

Welcome to JustAnswer.com!

Alex Esquire :

I am sorry to hear about your unfortunate situation.

Alex Esquire :

Do you have a specific criminal statute listed on the citation that you have received?

Customer:

description: animal abuse, offense code 272/77 -- is that what you mean?

Alex Esquire :

Yes.

Alex Esquire :

Thank you for your follow up.

Alex Esquire :

This is a misdemeanor charge which carries and imprisonment of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000

Alex Esquire :

Here is what I would suggest that you do.

Alex Esquire :

H

Alex Esquire :

Since your hearing is not until Wednesday, you will have plenty of time to consult and retain a local criminal defense attorney.

Alex Esquire :

Most criminal attorneys do work extended hours and some do answer calls 24/7

Alex Esquire :

The 12/05 date is simply going to be an arraignment, at which time you will enter of plea of "not guilty" and the judge will set a bond for your release.

Alex Esquire :

It would be a good idea to have your local criminal defense attorney on this date at court.

Alex Esquire :

Do you know of the local criminal defense attorney or do you need sources to find one?

Customer:

Don't know one, assume someone here can help me, but am not positive...

Customer:

What about continuance?

Alex Esquire :

Well, you would generally need to show up in court and enter the plea of "not guilty", as continuances are not readily granted in criminal cases.

Alex Esquire :

You can use these well trusted and reliable attorney information / referral websites to find an experienced and established local criminal defense attorney in your area:

Alex Esquire :

www.martindale.com

Alex Esquire :

www.justia.com

Alex Esquire :

www.lexmundi.com

Alex Esquire :

www.lawyers.com

Alex Esquire :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX a little looking through these.

Customer:

I don't understand 'arraignment' vs magistrate hearing...

Alex Esquire :

Well, there will be a magistrate who will accept your plea

Alex Esquire :

the plea can generally be either "Guilty" or "Not Guilty".

Customer:

What do I need to have and do to be fully prepared?

Alex Esquire :

Also the same Magistrate will determine whether you have to post bail to remain free or whether you can remain free on your own recognizance and without any monetary bail, which is generally the case.

Alex Esquire :

I would suggest to have a local lawyer at your side, not only to make sure that you are properly represented, but also to make sure that prosecutor sees that you have a local criminal defense attorney on your side and that you would contest this trumped up charge against you.

Customer:

Yikes, this sounds worse than I thought, mention of 'free' and 'bail' etc

Alex Esquire :

Well, you have been charged with a misdemeanor crime that carries a jail term of up to 90 days and a fine of up to $1,000 upon conviction, however if you had never had any trouble with the law before, it is unlikely that you would be facing any time in jail, especially if you do retain an experienced local criminal defense attorney.

Alex Esquire :

Do you have any related follow up questions?

Customer:

Yes please, why when the woman who was yelling at me and threatening to 'turn me in', etc, is her name not on this as the complainant, but instead the local police chief?

Alex Esquire :

Because she reported this incident to the police and the police chief forwarded the information to the local prosecutor who decided to file a criminal charge against you.

Alex Esquire :

The woman who was yelling at you will be listed as a witness on the report and your criminal attorney will be able to obtain a copy of the report from the prosecutor during the pre-trial discovery.

Alex Esquire :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

Yes. I am worried though. This perceived 'abuse' was due to my stupidity and not being able to see where my dog was, not stopping soon enough to prevent her from taking this tumble while moving slowly in car... and not realizing even that she had lost her footing... just so stupid on my part... my apologies for this delay ...

Alex Esquire :

Well, the only way to address this criminal charge is for your attorney to challenge it in court and hopefully it can be proven in court that you did not intentionally abuse your beloved pet, but it was simply a mistake or oversight.

Alex Esquire :

Do you have any related follow up questions?

Customer:

No, thank you for your time and help.

Alex Esquire :

Thank you and please click on "excellent service" so I can receive credit for my answer. Bonus and positive feedback is always appreciated, but is not required.

Alex Esquire :


Thank you and please click on "excellent service" so I can receive credit for my answer. Bonus and positive feedback is always appreciated, but is not required.



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