What is Bail Review in Massachusetts?
Updated: Feb 6
If the district court set a bail you cannot afford, you have the right to go to superior court for bail review. At a bail review hearing, the superior court will review all of the documents in your case and decide whether to lower your bail.
How Do I Request a Bail Review in Massachusetts?
The process to request a bail review varies by county in Massachusetts. It can involve a written motion, a phone call, or a letter. Generally, your criminal defense lawyer will be able to request bail review and get the court date scheduled.
When Does a Bail Review Happen and How Does It Work?
The bail review hearing can happen as soon as the day after your arraignment in district court. Most courts in Massachusetts hold these hearings by video - the defendant is on video in jail, while the defense attorney, prosecutor, and judge are in the courtroom.
What Does the Superior Court Consider?
During a bail review, the superior court judge will consider all of the bail factors - the seriousness of the charges, the evidence against you, your criminal record, your record of appearing in court, your employment, and your connection to the community.
The Court can also consider whether you will abide by conditions, such as staying away from the victim, reporting to probation, or GPS monitoring.
What If the Superior Court Refuses to Lower My Bail?
If the Superior Court refuses to lower your bail, you can always go back to the District Court to see whether they will lower your bail. This may not happen immediately, though.
If your bail is unaffordable, it's critical to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to get a bail review hearing in superior court. My office is located in Boston, but I practice criminal defense in all Massachusetts courts. Contact me at 617-356-8217, and let's get started on your defense.