Boston Municipal Court – Central Division
Boston Municipal Court
Edward W. Brooke Courthouse
24 New Chardon Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: (617) 687-7184
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday
8:30 am – 4:30 pm.
Criminal Cases in Boston Municipal Court
As a trial court, Boston Municipal Court hears criminal cases such as OUI, DUI, drug offenses, and assault and battery. The Court also hears civil cases and related matters such as domestic violence and restraining orders.
The Boston Municipal Court – Central Division, also called the BMC or the Brooke Courthouse, is part of the Boston Municipal Court Department with 8 court divisions located in Brighton, Boston (BMC), Charlestown, Dorchester, East Boston, Roxbury, South Boston and West Roxbury.
The BMC is similar in case jurisdiction to the state’s district courts and generally limited to deciding criminal cases for which there is no recommended guideline at sentencing to the state’s correctional prison (Cedar Junction.) In practice, the severity of criminal cases tried in the Court are for those felonies and misdemeanors that at sentencing would carry up to 5 years in a house of corrections.
If you were arrested for a DUI /OUI within the geographical boundaries of the downtown Boston area, Chinatown, Beacon Hill, the West End, the North End and the South End through Mass Ave, your case can be heard in the BMC.
Alternative Dispositions in Boston Municipal Court
The procedural laws and judicial rules for the Boston Municipal Courts are similar to those for the District Courts. As such, the alternative dispositions of pre-trial probation and continuance without a finding (CWOF) are available to qualifying defendants at the BMC.
As noted, CWOF stands for “continuance without a finding.” A CWOF can be negotiated through the Court and prosecutor on behalf of a first offender, although exceptions may be made in certain multiple offender cases. It is crucial to go over the positives and negatives of entering into a CWOF with your attorney. One major concern is that in a CWOF agreement, if the written terms are violated by the defendant, the Court can revoke the continuance, enter a guilty finding and impose the maximum sentence —without a trial.
Pretrial probation agreements are more forgiving should any violation of the terms occur. Defendants who agree to a pretrial probation order can be found in violation of the terms of probation, but unlike a CWOF, this will result in their case being placed back on the docket for trial.
Appearing in the BMC
Hearing sessions begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. on weekdays in all divisions of the Boston Municipal Court Department. Individuals charged with serious crimes are typically required to appear for each court date with their attorney. A locally experienced defense attorney can tell you what to expect at all hearings as well as explain the legal implications to your case.
For all Court appearances, it is critical that you leave and arrive early so you appear in Court on time. There is no public parking available for the Brooke Courthouse, and limited metered parking on the street. You should plan/arrange for transportation ahead of all court dates. The MBTA has stops near the Court, and there are a few paid parking facilities nearby as well.
You should make childcare arrangements so you do not have to bring your child to Court. Defendants should always be respectful in Court, address the judge as “your honor,” and wear clean and professional clothing. You should not wear any hats, sunglasses or earbuds upon entering the courtroom.
All personal electronic devices must be turned off and out-of-site upon entering the Courthouse and during court sessions. Cellphones can be set to silent mode, but must not be visible while inside the courtroom and may otherwise be confiscated.
Boston Municipal Court Judicial District
The Boston Municipal Court Department encompasses most of Suffolk County. The Central Division of the BMC dockets cases for the downtown Boston area, Chinatown, Beacon Hill, the North End, the West End, and the South End through Mass Ave.
The BMC’s origins began in 1822 when Boston was chartered as a city. It was originally called The Boston Police Court until 1866 when it became the Municipal Court of the City of Boston. The BMC is most noted for being the court in which the concept of probation was created and first instituted into the criminal justice system.
Court and County Government Information