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Criminal Law

What is a CWOF?

A “continued without a finding” (CWOF) is a finding which is designated for those people that do not have a criminal record and/or have a very short criminal record. To receive a CWOF, you admit that the Commonwealth has sufficient facts to find you guilty and the case is set aside for the designated period of time with certain conditions. If you comply with the conditions, whatever ones are dictated as appropriate by the court, your case is dismissed at the end of the period. If you do not, you can receive a violation of your probation and be subject to the maximum penalty of the charge.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor

G.L. 271, §1 provides that “A crime punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison is a felony. All other crimes are misdemeanors.”

My girlfriend called the police and said that I hit her. She now has decide that she does not want to press charges. Does this mean that my case will be dismissed?

No, not necessarily. Once the police make an arrest and charges are pending, the Commonwealth makes the decisions about the case. The complaining witness, your girlfriend in this case, certainly can give her input but the Commonwealth will determine how it will proceed. You should have an attorney evaluate the case and help you to understand the possible outcomes in such a situation.

Is it okay for me to represent myself defending a criminal charge?

Yes. It is your right to waive counsel and represent yourself. It is not always the best choice, however, since certain charges carry residual penalties of which you may not be aware (for example, license suspension). Once you waive counsel you are expected to proceed as if you were represented and are not given a lesser standard or “breaks” for not knowing the process. Also important to know is that you have a right at any time to change your mind at almost any stage and hire counsel.

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