Massachusetts courts resolve more than 235,000 criminal cases each year. The fact that a person is charged with an offense doesn't necessarily mean that they committed the crime. Guilt must be determined by a judge or jury. The most serious cases, the ones that often result in a prison sentence of more than 2.5 years, are usually heard in Superior Court, and the less serious cases are usually heard in District Court.
A criminal conviction can result in going to prison or jail, as well as other serious consequences. A few examples of other consequences include getting deported if you’re not a U.S. citizen, losing public housing benefits, and the not being able to get a student loan. These pages include a variety of links to legal help, including free assistance.