When people are charged with a crime in Massachusetts, it is not uncommon for many of them to be unaware of the rights they have. People who are accused have both constitutional and statutory protections in place to ensure their rights are guarded.
Massachusetts has delineated several rights that people who are accused have during a criminal case. When a person is arrested or served with a summons to appear for criminal charges, the arresting officer must inform them of the charges for which they are being arrested. If the officer refuses or lies to them about the charges, the officer may be punished by up to a year in jail or a fine. People who are charged with an offense that could result in a state prison penalty have the right to be proceeded against by indictment unless the district and superior courts both have jurisdiction and the district court retains the case. People also have the right to waive an indictment, and if they do, the court will hold a probable cause hearing unless that is waived as well.