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What is “Rule 36” Motion to Dismiss in Massachusetts?

Boston criminal defense attorney

Rule 36 allows some cases to be dismissed in Massachusetts criminal courts if they go past a year.  This is different from the “speedy trial” constitutional right, but it’s the same principle.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in the state of Massachusetts, it is crucial that you hire a defense attorney as soon as possible. The criminal justice system can be intimidating, convoluted, and it can be hard to know where to begin. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, I am here to help. I take cases in courthouses all over the state of Massachusetts – if you’d like to see a full list if the courts I service, please visit my website. Criminal proceedings can be daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with how the process goes. That’s why hiring a criminal defense attorney is so essential – I know which motions to file and when, and will do everything I can to secure the best outcome for your case.

What is a Motion in Criminal Court?

A motion in criminal court is a formal, written request made to the court or judge asking for a specific order or ruling to be made in that particular matter. A motion details what the request is, why that request is being made, and an explanation of the facts or circumstances that support why the request should be granted. A judge can approve or deny a motion, or they can schedule a motions hearing so the opposing party in the motion can argue their position before the judge makes a decision.

Motions are a very important part of any criminal trial – there are motions that can be filed before a trial begins (called pre-trial motions), motions regarding discovery, and many others.

What is “Rule 36” Motion to Dismiss in Massachusetts?

In essence, Rule 36 means that all defendants are guaranteed a trial within one year of their arraignment. And this rule applies to anyone who has bee arraigned – even if you are not being held in jail while awaiting trial. If more than one year has gone by after your arraignment, and you still have not been brought to trial, you are eligible to file a “Rule 36” Motion to Dismiss. In the state of Massachusetts, if more than twelve months have gone by since you were arraigned, and you still have not had a trial, you are entitled to a dismissal of the charges upon filing that rule 36 motion to dismiss.

Many time periods can be excluded from the 12-month calculation, such as if you file motions in your case or agree to continuances.

However, sometimes it is beneficial for you to continue your case (move to a later date), in which case the twelve month period could be exceeded. Also, if you are being held in state custody while awaiting trial and there is an agreed upon continuance in your case, that new date cannot exceed 30 days.

Hiring a Defense Team you can Trust

While I defend my clients for a living, I know how important each case that I take on is. Not only is it your life overall at stake, but it also impacts your family, your ability to get a job, and sometimes even your ability to remain in this country. I have years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, and I will fight for you. I have an office location in Boston and Salem, Massachusetts, but I also do phone and Zoom meetings as well. Call or text me today at 617-295-7500!





Although I am an attorney, I am not your attorney.  Please do not rely on anything on this page as legal advice because any specific advice would depend on your situation.  Any results posted on this page are not guarantees of outcomes in your case.

Boston Attorney

The court system is stressful, whether you’re being charged with a crime, being sued, suing someone, or fighting for your ability to stay and work in this country. You need someone who appreciates this and can dedicate the time not only to represent you effectively in court but to guide you through the process.

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