Boston Municipal Court handles both criminal and civil matters for the City of Boston. There are actually 8 total Boston municipal court locations in the Greater Boston area, including the central division on New Chardon Street. Each courthouse has jurisdiction over a specific division of the Boston court system.
Where Do I Go For My Trial?
The central division of the Boston Municipal Court is located at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse, 24 New Chardon St., 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114. This location serves the Downtown Boston area, Chinatown, North End, South End through Massachusetts Avenue, West End, and Beacon Hill. If you have any questions before traveling to court for your arraignment, hearing, or OUI / DUI trial, you can call the office at (617) 788-8700 or the court’s help line at 833-91COURT (833-912-6878).
The other Boston Municipal Courthouses include:
- Brighton Division, serving Allston and Brighton
- Charlestown Division, serving Charlestown
- Dorchester Division, serving Dorchester
- East Boston Division, serving East Boston, Winthrop, Logan Airport, and the Sumner and Callahan Tunnels
- Roxbury Division, serving Roxbury
- South Boston Division, serving South Boston
- West Roxbury Division, serving Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury, parts of Mattapan, and parts of Mission Hill
Due to COVID-19, there are a few things you should know before heading to a Boston court. Courthouses are still open, but Boston Municipal Courts are still trying to conduct most business virtually (telephone, videoconference, and email). Reference their up-to-date COVID policies and guidelines before you physically enter the courthouse for hearings or your trial.
The First Court Appearance
The trial will likely happen months after you are officially charged with OUI. The first time you’ll appear at Boston Municipal Court is for your arraignment (where a plea of Not Guilty will be entered on your behalf). In most cases, the arraignment happens very quickly after the initial arrest, so be prepared.
First of all, we recommend that you don’t plead Guilty. Even if you haven’t found a lawyer yet and think you’ve failed a breathalyzer test, it’s still possible to fight OUI charges. You have the right to plead Not Guilty and “show that you were not driving drunk, or challenge the merits of the case in another manner.”
Most of the work for the trial occurs before it begins. You’ll need to work closely with your lawyer to review all of the facts of the case—everything you remember and everything that’s been documented—to determine the best possible approach for your defense.
Your attorney will look to see if there may have been violations, accidents, oversights, or other behaviors that will disqualify evidence the state intends to use against you, or otherwise question the legality of the arrest. This might include:
- Lack of sufficient “reasonable suspicion” for a traffic stop
- Failure to observe proper protocols for breath testing
- Lack of “probable cause” to be arrested for OUI
- Failure to properly file paperwork for the arrest (or file any at all)
- Inconsistencies in the evidence entered by the prosecution
- Scientific proof or expert opinions that certain pieces of evidence are unreliable
Make sure to prepare properly for your trial. This means ensuring your schedule will allow for attendance, making sure you’ve spoken with your lawyer to know what to expect that day, dressing appropriately, and making the proper travel arrangements (especially if you do not have your license to drive).
All Boston Municipal Court divisions are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, so be prepared for the trial to potentially start promptly at 9:00 AM (and arrive early). If you’re driving, there are privately owned parking garages near the courthouse. Let your lawyer lead the process, and know it’s possible that the trial may not be resolved in one day. This could depend on what happens in the courtroom and whether additional time is needed to address something that comes up or to hear additional testimony.
If you need representation for your OUI / DUI trial in Boston Municipal Court, there’s no time to waste. Consult with an experienced Boston OUI attorney today to go over your case and determine the best approach for your defense.