haverhill district court

Haverhill District Court

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Haverhill District Court

Introduction to Haverhill District Court

The Haverhill District Court is a court located in Haverhill, Massachusetts that hears a variety of criminal, civil, and other legal cases. This court serves the communities of Haverhill, Groveland, Georgetown, Merrimac, West Newbury, and parts of Boxford. Read on to learn more about the history, operations, and procedures of this important Essex County court.

Overview and History of Haverhill District Court

The Haverhill District Court was established in 1888 as one of several district courts serving Essex County. It was originally located in City Hall but later moved to the Haverhill Courthouse at 2 Main Street where it still operates today.

This court started out handling minor criminal cases and civil disputes. Over time, its jurisdiction has expanded to include a wide range of criminal, civil, juvenile, and other matters. The Haverhill District Court serves the Haverhill Division of the District Court Department of the Trial Court of Massachusetts.

Court Location and Jurisdiction

As mentioned previously, the Haverhill District Court is located at 2 Main Street in Haverhill, MA and serves the communities of Haverhill, Groveland, Georgetown, Merrimac, West Newbury, and parts of Boxford.

This court has jurisdiction over criminal, civil, and other cases including:

  • Criminal arraignments and trials for misdemeanor and felony charges
  • Restraining orders, harassment prevention orders, and other protective orders
  • Small claims lawsuits up to $7,000
  • Civil motor vehicle infractions
  • Juvenile cases including delinquency, children in need of services, and care and protection petitions
  • Mental health, substance abuse, and sex offender registry hearings
  • Landlord/tenant disputes and housing cases

Court Offices and Staff

The Haverhill District Court houses several important offices and staff members who keep the courts running smoothly:

Judge and Clerk Magistrate

The Honorable Patricia A. Dowling currently serves as the First Justice of the Haverhill District Court. She presides over cases and oversees the operations of the court.

The Clerk Magistrate is Janet A. Farrell. The Clerk Magistrate handles administrative functions and oversees civil cases.

Probation Officers and Court Officers

Probation officers prepare pre-sentencing reports for criminal cases and provide supervision to individuals placed on probation. Court officers provide security and order in the courthouse.

Clerical Staff

The court also employs clerical staff who handle paperwork, maintain records, coordinate interpreters, and carry out other administrative tasks.

Types of Cases Heard

The Haverhill District Court hears a wide variety of cases, both criminal and civil in nature:

Criminal Cases

Criminal cases make up a large part of the Haverhill District Court’s caseload. All criminal cases start with an arraignment where defendants hear charges and enter a plea.

See also  Fremont County District Court

The court handles arraignments, pretrial hearings, and trials for both misdemeanor charges like shoplifting, trespassing, and simple assault and felony charges like larceny, burglary, and drug offenses.

Civil Cases

On the civil side, the Haverhill District Court handles small claims lawsuits where individuals or businesses seek damages up to $7,000 from an individual or entity.

The court also hears civil motor vehicle infractions, restraining order petitions, and landlord/tenant disputes.

Small Claims

In small claims cases, individuals and businesses represent themselves rather than hiring lawyers. Small claims hearings are informal and have simplified rules of evidence and procedure.

Courtroom Proceedings and Protocol

There are certain rules and procedures members of the public must follow when attending court hearings or trials at Haverhill District Court:

Security Screening

Everyone entering the courthouse must pass through a metal detector and security screening. Weapons, drugs, cameras, and other prohibited items are not allowed.

Courtroom Etiquette and Behavior

Inside the courtroom, polite behavior is mandatory. Things like eating, drinking, chewing gum, reading, or talking are prohibited. Hats and sunglasses must be removed.

When the judge enters or exits the room, those present must rise. Cell phones and other electronics must be turned off or silenced.

Presenting Your Case

Those involved in a case should dress appropriately and act respectfully. Address the judge as “your honor.” Only speak when recognized by the judge and do not interrupt the judge or other parties. Be prepared when presenting your side.

Paying Fines and Fees

Individuals required to pay fines, fees, or other court costs have a few options:

Payment Options and Instructions

The court accepts payment by cash, money order, certified check, debit, or credit cards. Individuals can pay in person or by mailing payments to the Clerk Magistrate’s office. Include your case or docket number.

Online payments can also be made through the MassCourts website or by calling the Interactive Voice Response system.

Getting Help with Payments

If you cannot afford to pay, speak to the probation department or Clerk Magistrate about alternative payment plans, community service programs, or waivers.

Contact Information and Hours

Here are the main phone, address, and hours for the court:

Phone Number, Address and Email

  • Phone: 978-374-3724
  • Address: 2 Main Street Haverhill, MA 01830
  • Email: [email protected]

Business Hours

The Haverhill District Court is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm. It is closed on weekends and holidays.

Always call ahead or check the court’s website for the most up-to-date hours and closures.

Haverhill District Court Online Court Resources in Essex County, Massachusetts

In today’s digital age, accessing vital court resources and information is more convenient than ever before. For residents of Essex County, Massachusetts, particularly those residing within the jurisdiction of Haverhill District Court, this article will serve as your ultimate guide to navigating the online court resources available to you. Whether you’re searching for court case records, legal forms, self-help resources, or information on specialized court sessions, we’ve got you covered.

Search court case records

One of the most valuable online court resources is the ability to search court case records. Whether you’re a legal professional, a concerned citizen, or simply curious about a specific case, you can find detailed information about various case types, including Superior, District, Probate and Family, Housing, Land, and Boston Municipal Court records. These records are accessible both at public access computers and courthouses, and many of them are available for online searches.

Criminal Records

Understanding criminal records in Massachusetts is crucial for legal proceedings and personal background checks. Here, you’ll find instructions on obtaining and sealing records, as well as information on the laws and regulations governing public access to criminal records. Knowledge is power, and this section provides the knowledge you need about criminal records.

Published opinions and orders

For those interested in legal opinions issued by the Massachusetts Attorney General, this section provides access to a wealth of Attorney General legal opinions. These documents offer insights into the interpretation and application of the law, helping individuals and professionals alike navigate complex legal issues.

Forms and related information

Legal forms are a fundamental aspect of court proceedings. In this section, you can view and download forms for use in all Massachusetts courts, organized by topic or court department. Additionally, legal forms that are not filed in court, such as tax forms, contracts, and wills, are readily available from the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries.

See also  Redwood County District Court

Online fine payments

Convenience meets legality with online fine payments. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles offers the option to pay traffic tickets or court filing fees online. All you need is the citation number and date of the offense. Say goodbye to long lines and hello to efficiency.

Self-help, legal research, general information

Empowering individuals with knowledge is a core principle of the legal system. Essex County offers a range of diversion programs for first-time non-violent offenders, as well as information about domestic violence and restraining orders. Additionally, you can explore resources for preventing foreclosure in Massachusetts, including housing counseling agencies and legal aid providers.

Problem-Solving Courts

Innovative solutions are at the heart of problem-solving courts. This section provides information about specialty court sessions that offer supervision and treatment instead of incarceration for some offenders with substance abuse or mental health problems. Explore Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts, Veterans’ Treatment Courts, Mental Health Courts, Homeless Court, and other specialized sessions.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Avoiding lengthy court battles is often desirable, and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provides a solution. Learn about court-connected ADR options, including links to approved programs and guidelines that can help parties resolve disputes without going to trial.

Child Support Services

For individuals dealing with child support matters, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue offers a wealth of information. Find out how to apply, make payments, and modify or enforce orders. Online application systems, guidelines, calculators, and forms are readily accessible.

Civil Self-Representation

Representing yourself in a civil case can be daunting, but this section offers valuable guidance. Learn about the types of cases and courts, the use of attorneys, court procedures, trial processes, and settlement options. Additional resources, both in print and online, are just a click away.

Court Rules and Standing Orders

Understanding court rules and standing orders is essential for anyone involved in legal proceedings. Explore Massachusetts rules of civil, criminal, and appellate procedure, as well as trial court rules and dispute resolution rules. Most rules are also available as downloadable e-books for your convenience.

Fee Waiver Requests

Inability to pay court fees should not be a barrier to accessing justice. This section provides instructions for requesting a waiver of Massachusetts court fees and costs. Links to indigency guidelines and application forms are included to ensure that financial constraints don’t hinder your access to the legal system.

Law Libraries

Access to legal resources is a fundamental aspect of a fair legal process. Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries provide a range of services, including an “Ask a Law Librarian” service, document delivery, and links to online legal research resources. You’ll also find downloadable e-books of court rules and other legal documents, as well as links to Massachusetts laws, court rules, and opinions.

Legal Information and Resources

Navigating the complexities of legal issues is easier with the right information. Find assistance on various legal topics in multiple languages. Learn about legal aid eligibility, free and low-cost program referrals, and access self-help resources that empower you to address legal challenges effectively.

Legal Terminology

Understanding legal terminology is vital for anyone dealing with the legal system. Explore a glossary of legal terms commonly used in Massachusetts courts, demystifying complex language and ensuring clarity in your legal interactions.

Massachusetts Laws

Accessing Massachusetts General Laws has never been more accessible. Search laws by keyword, chapter, section, or browse by table of contents. Dive into uncodified session laws, historical laws, and documents, and learn how to research legislative history. Alphabetical browsing is available for laws and regulations by popular name.

Self-Help Resources

Individuals representing themselves in Massachusetts courts can benefit from a wealth of self-help resources. Explore various legal topics, including court procedures, terminology, legal assistance, consumer protection, abuse and harassment prevention, criminal law, family matters, guardianship, housing, probate, small claims, and traffic. Links to forms are also provided for added convenience.

Traffic and Motor Vehicle Information

Navigating the world of traffic laws, vehicle registration, driver licenses, and more is simplified with online information from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. Access manuals, forms, and service center locations at your fingertips.

See also  Kandiyohi County District Court

Legal aid, free services, lawyer referral

Accessing legal assistance is essential, and this section offers valuable resources. The Essex County Bar Association provides a lawyer referral service, connecting you with experienced attorneys. Additionally, explore the Lawrence Court Service Center for online access to legal resources and information about court procedure.

Limited Assistance Representation

Sometimes, you may only need limited legal assistance. Learn about limited assistance representation, where lawyers provide specific services at a reduced fee. Services may include advice, document preparation, coaching, and more. Links to qualified attorneys and required forms are included.

Attorney Discipline Records

Transparency in attorney discipline is crucial. The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers offers online listings of attorney discipline decisions, ensuring that individuals can access information about an attorney’s professional conduct.

Community Legal Services and Counseling Center

Combining legal assistance with mental health counseling, the Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC) offers vital support. Volunteer lawyers provide legal services, including disability benefits, family law, housing, and immigration law.

Complaints About Attorneys

In cases of dissatisfaction with legal representation, it’s essential to know how to file a complaint. This section provides information about filing a complaint against a lawyer and offers links to agencies that handle attorney discipline.

Consumer Protection

Protecting consumers is a priority, and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division are here to help. Access information about consumer protection services, debt, mortgages, utilities, and more. Find a list of complaints against businesses, discover local consumer programs, and access forms and instructions for filing a consumer complaint.

Lawyer Directory

Find the right lawyer for your needs by searching the Board of Bar Overseers directory of Massachusetts attorneys. You can search by name, bar number, and location, ensuring that you have the information you need to make informed decisions.

Lawyer Fee Disputes

In the event of fee disputes between lawyers and clients, the Massachusetts Bar Association offers an arbitration program to help resolve these issues amicably.

Lawyer Referral and Legal Assistance

The Massachusetts Bar Association offers various services, including a lawyer referral service and a Dial-A-Lawyer free advice service. These resources are designed to provide legal assistance and guidance.

Legal Services Directory

Locate free or low-cost legal services in Massachusetts by using this directory. You can search by location, household information, and legal issue, ensuring that you find the right assistance for your specific needs.

Working With a Lawyer

Understanding the dynamics of working with a lawyer is essential. This section provides information on payment, confidentiality, criminal matters, and how to address any concerns or complaints that may arise during your legal journey.


  • The Haverhill District Court handles criminal, civil, juvenile, and other cases for Haverhill and nearby towns
  • Be sure to follow proper courtroom etiquette and procedures when attending hearings
  • There are various options for paying fines, fees, and other costs owed to the court

Final Thoughts

The Haverhill District Court plays an important role in administering justice in Essex County. This overview covers the key things to know about this court whether you are appearing for a case, paying a fine, or simply observing the proceedings. Following the proper rules and protocols will ensure an orderly experience at the courthouse.


What are the standard operating hours of the Haverhill District Court?

The Haverhill District Court is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm, excluding weekends and holidays. Always check ahead for updated hours.

What should I expect for security screening?

Be prepared to pass through a metal detector, have bags x-rayed, and submit to a search if necessary. Weapons, drugs, and other prohibited items will be confiscated.

How can I look up a case scheduled at the Haverhill District Court?

You can look up cases online using the MassCourts website. Docket numbers, case types, scheduled hearing dates, and parties in a case can be found through this public records search.

What happens if I miss a court date at the Haverhill District Court?

Missing a scheduled court date can result in a default judgement against you, additional charges for failure to appear, arrest warrants, licence suspensions, or other penalties. Contact the court immediately if you cannot make it.

How do I request a payment plan for fines owed to Haverhill District Court?

To set up a payment plan for fines or fees you cannot afford, contact the probation department or Clerk Magistrate’s office directly to discuss payment options and eligibility requirements for alternative plans.

How can I access court case records online?
To access court case records online, follow the instructions provided on the official court website or use public access computers available at courthouses.

Can I seal my criminal records in Massachusetts?
Yes, Massachusetts allows for the sealing of certain criminal records. Detailed instructions can be found on the official website.

Where can I find legal forms for Massachusetts courts?
You can find legal forms organized by topic or court department on the official Massachusetts court website.

How can I make online fine payments for traffic citations?
Visit the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles website, enter your citation number and date of offense, and follow the instructions for online payment.

Are there resources available for those facing foreclosure?
Yes, there are resources available for preventing foreclosure in Massachusetts, including local housing counseling agencies and legal aid providers.

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