What is Bail in Massachusetts?
Updated: Mar 13
If you're being charged with a crime, you will generally be taken before either a judge or bail commissioner to set bail. Bail is the amount of money that must be posted for you to be released.
Your bail may be set as personal recognizance. This means that you will be released on your promise to return to court, and you won't have to post money. If you are released by the bail commissioner at the police station, you will have to pay $40 to the commissioner to be released.
The judge may set conditions for your release at the arraignment in court. One condition in every case is that you not commit any criminal offense - if you do, your bail could be revoked. Other conditions could be not contacting the victim, not abusing the victim, random drug tests, or pretty much any other condition the judge thinks is appropriate.
The judge or bail commissioner may also set a cash bail. This amount must be posted in the clerk's office for you to be released. There are no bail bondsmen in Massachusetts state court.
If the bail is unaffordable or the conditions are unreasonable, you can appeal your bail conditions or amount to superior court in a process known as bail review. In that, the superior court will review the conditions or amount of bail, but they could raise your bail.
The best way to secure your release is to hire a criminal lawyer you can trust to represent you at your arraignment. They can advocate for you to be released on a reasonable bail based on your income, criminal history, and the nature of the charges.
If you're looking for a criminal defense attorney who will fight for your release, call me today at 617-356-8217. My office is located in Boston, but I practice in courts all over Massachusetts.