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Continuance Without a Finding in Massachusetts: A Guide

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If you are not well-versed in court proceedings, then you may assume that the finding for any case would always either be innocent or guilty, depending on the circumstances. However, if you are either a Massachusetts criminal lawyer or have witnessed other special trials, then you may have seen the verdict reaching a Continuance Without a Finding (CWOF). It is an admission that the prosecution doesn’t have enough proof against you as the defendant for a charged offense. But what does this entail? Consider this article as a guide to know more and see if it applies to your context. 

Why Does a CWOF Benefit Me as the Accused? 

A CWOF is a great way to reach a favorable decision since the court will continue with your case in court. It’s like being put on probation because you can be free of a guilty finding for a year or less, depending on the terms and conditions agreed upon by the appropriate legal authorities. 

Therefore, you are not yet officially tagged as a criminal but have to honor certain rules recognized by the state court called the Conditions of Probation. Since each case is different, note the following possible courses of action: 

  1. There will be no new charges against you throughout the probation period.
  2. You must adhere to paying all necessary court fees and restitution to victims.
  3. Probationary reporting is required as determined by your level of probation supervision. You can even accomplish this through the mail if necessary. 
  4. You may have to undergo necessary community service, drug and alcohol testing, and other related medical assessments when deemed necessary. 
  5. You can maintain employment or education provided that you maintain proper behavior.
  6. You must complete all mandatory courses approved by the court.(For instance, if you are under probation for a violent crime, anger management training is needed.)

What Happens When I Complete My CWOF-Imposed Probation, and My Case Was Dismissed? 

In legal terms, your CWOF means you have no criminal conviction. You should know where you stand when asked either at your workplace or school about your background. 

While most institutions no longer perform criminal background checks, you may still encounter wherein you will be asked if you have been convicted of a criminal. Your appropriate response here should be no, but take note that the CWOF can appear on your record, especially if you are to go through a full background check. 

Besides that, being tagged with a CWOF can have consequences with your firearm license and immigration problems, primarily if you are not a U.S. citizen. In fact, if you have a CWOF for drunk driving or Operating Under the Influence (DUI), your car insurance provider can increase your fees, and the court can count the CWOF as your first offense, meaning if you are caught, it will become the second offense and can expect stricter charges.  

What Should I Do to Address the Ramifications of My CWOF Status? 

Luckily, thanks to the new law passed, your Massachusetts attorney can appeal to seal your record to get your CWOF from causing any issues. Just ensure that the probation period is done, your case is dismissed, and you have no criminal convictions that can affect your record sealing privileges. 

Under the new Massachusetts record sealing law, your attorney can now file a motion to seal your record for any CWOF, so long as the period of probation has ended, the case has been dismissed, and you have not had any subsequent criminal convictions.

Conclusion

While having a CWOF means you aren’t charged guilty, you can still expect trouble with fulfilling necessary obligations. If you also don’t have a legal professional to assist you, it can be difficult or even impossible to move forward. Thus, remember all the vital information mentioned above and handle your legal responsibilities. 

Are you looking for the best Boston criminal defense attorney to handle your CWOF concerns and other related legal needs? Consult with us at The Fernandez Firm. Our team of professionals is available every day to ensure you can work on your case and get timely advice. Contact us today at +1 (617) 393-0250 for your free consultation. 

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