Being arrested and charged with a crime can have an impact on your future and opportunities. But even worse than being arrested and charged with a crime is actually being convicted. Not only may you have to face jail or prison time, as well as large fines and fees, if you are convicted, but you also have to go through the process of defending yourself before a court, which can be arduous. One option that may exist for you is a Continuance Without a Finding, or CWOF. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney can help you to understand your options related to a CWOF and your criminal case.
What Is a Continuance Without a Finding?
A CWOF is exactly what it sounds like—the case is continued without any finding of guilt. More accurately, it is a plea on the part of the defendant that makes an admission that the prosecution does have enough evidence to convict the defendant of the case should it go to trial. In exchange for making this admission, the defendant will not be found guilty and, instead, will be placed on probation for a period of time.
Massachusetts Terms of Probation
If a court grants a CWOF, the defendant will be placed on probation following their admittal that there is sufficient evidence for a conviction. While the terms of probation can vary from case to case, generally, some of the terms of a probationary period in Massachusetts include—
- Performing community service
- Abstaining from drug and alcohol use
- Submitting to drug and alcohol testing
- Being enrolled in school or employed continuously
- Paying all court-related fines and fees
- Refraining from any new criminal activity
- Completing any court-assigned mandatory classes
In addition to the above, the individual on probation will also need to meet with their probation officer regularly. Failure to meet the terms of probation can result in a termination of the probation period and a criminal proceeding.
What Happens Next?
If the terms of probation are followed, then at the end of the CWOF, the defendant will not have a criminal conviction on their record—a huge benefit of a CWOF. While the crime will not appear on your criminal record, note that if you were arrested, you will still have a mark on your arrest record. What’s more, the CWOF will still appear on your board of probation record.
While a CWOF will appear as a dismissal on your criminal record, note that it could still have an impact on some parts of your life. For example, a CWOF could result in a firearm being revoked, could result in a car insurance rate increase if the original crime was a DUI, and could cause immigration issues if you are not a citizen of the United States.
Call The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski to Learn More
When facing criminal charges, one of the worst things that could happen next is a conviction. If the court allows a CWOF, you may be able to avoid a finding of guilt and the related consequences. To learn more about your legal options and how to protect your rights, call The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski directly today at (978) 397-0011 or send us a message online telling us more about your case.