What Is Bail and How Does it Work in Massachusetts?

If you are arrested and charged with a crime in Massachusetts, you may be presented with the possibility of posting bail. In fact, bail is a very common element of criminal cases in Massachusetts, and therefore, understanding what bail is and how it works is important. Consider the following about bail in Massachusetts – if you have more questions, please reach out to our criminal defense lawyer directly for answers.

What Is Bail?

As explained by Mass.gov, bail refers to a set of restrictions and requirements that are designed to ensure that a defendant who is released from jail will appear in court when required. Typically, this set of restrictions and requirements are monetary in nature; a defendant will present a bail payment (a sum of money) in exchange for being released. Bail is not supposed to be a form of punishment, and the amount of bail that is required is not at all related to a defendant’s guilt or innocence, but rather is related to whether or not they will appear in court.

There are two types of a bail that a person may be released on. These include:

Cash bail. If a bail magistrate thinks that it is unlikely that a defendant will appear in court, they may choose to release them on cash bail, which means that the defendant will have to give money in order to leave jail.

Personal recognizance. Sometimes, people are released merely on the basis that they have given their word that they will show up for their court date. This is called personal recognizance bail.

How Is a Bail Amount Determined?

The party who is responsible for determining whether or not bail is appropriate, and if so, for how much bail should be set is known as the bail magistrate. These two tasks are the sole responsibility of the bail magistrate. The bail magistrate reviews the facts of the case, the defendant’s monetary situation and criminal history, the defendant’s flight risk, and any history of default by the defendant, and then decides whether or not the defendant is likely to appear in court in the future if released on bail.

Does a Personal Get Their Cash Bail Returned?

If a bail amount is set by the bail magistrate, then the defendant or a surety (someone posting bail on the defendant’s behalf) must pay the required amount to the bail magistrate. If the defendant doesn’t show up for court when they are ordered to, then the amount of bail will likely be forfeited and will not be returned to the defendant. If the defendant does show up, then the bail amount will be returned (with a statutory fee deducted).

Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you have been arrested for a crime in Massachusetts, our experienced criminal defense lawyer at The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski can help. Call our law firm today at 978-397-0011 for aggressive and compassionate representation that you can trust, or send us a message directly.