Bail is typically defined as some sort of property promised to the court in order to secure a suspect’s release from jail. The agreement carries with it the understanding that the suspect will return for trial on the date specified by the Court, or will lose the bail initially posted, and possibly be brought up on charges for failure to appear as well.
In some cases, if a defendant appears for every hearing the bail may be returned at the close of the trial, whether the person has been found guilty or not guilty of the crime accused. Under current bail law, the court is allowed to detain a suspect prior to a trial based upon how dangerous they may be to the community rather than the previous criteria of being a flight risk. This is determined at a dangerousness hearing.
If you are facing a bail hearing for a major crime or serious felony in Massachusetts Superior Court then you need the assistance of a qualified and experienced bail petition criminal Attorney who will successfully and aggressively fight for your rights. Bail is not always granted and often must be argued for these types of charges.
Contact Superior Court Bail Petitions Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni today at (508) 213-9113 to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION.
In Massachusetts, certain crimes are subject to being held without bail and include anyone charged with any offense for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death, certain drug offenses carrying a maximum penalty of more than 10 years, repeat felony offenders, anyone charged with a crime of violence, anyone who poses a flight risk, the potential to tamper with witnesses, or of obstructing justice in any way.
Normally a special hearing will be held to determine if a suspect fits into any of these categories, and if not, then bail must be granted or at least considered. Petitions for bail review are typically filed at this time in order to request that bail be lowered or dropped entirely. They need to be filed before a scheduled hearing date in order to be considered by the Judge.
Contact Bail Hearings Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni today at (508) 213-9113 to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION
Forms of Bail in Massachusetts
A suspect can have several forms of bail used upon their release including:
Recognizance – where a person is released based upon their word only to the Court that they will not engage in any further illegal activity and that they will show up for all hearings as scheduled. A monetary amount may be set by the Court, but does not need to be paid unless the suspect is ordered to do so.
Surety Bond – where a third person will agree to provide for the obligation of the defendant. This is typically something that is handled by a bail bondsman who will receive 10% of the amount ordered up front as a fee. Most bail bondsmen require collateral to secure this percentage, as they will be required to pay the bail in full should the defendant default on their agreement to appear in court. In some jurisdictions, a bail bondsmen is not permitted to intervene by the court. In these cases, the court will take the 10% however, unlike the bondsman, the fee will be refunded back to the defendant as long as they do not violate the conditions of their bail.
Citation Release – where no financial security is needed, however, a defendant is notified by the issuance of a citation by the arresting officer that he or she must appear in court on a specific date.
Property Bond – where the accused or a third party will offer real property that has a value at least equal to that of the amount of bail required in lieu of other forms of bail bonds. In some jurisdictions, the property must have equity that is at least twice the amount of the bail set, and if the suspect fails to appear for trial, the state can levy the property or initiate foreclosure proceedings against the property.
Cash – where an individual must post the total amount of the bail necessary in cash, and the court will hold the money until the case reaches its end. This method provides the best incentive for defendants to appear at court hearings as failure to appear results in complete forfeiture of the cash and a bench warrant being issued.
Combinations – where the court will allow various combinations of cash bail and bond.
Bail laws can vary from state to state, with definitive guidelines for Judges to follow published in a bail schedule. There are various conditions and restrictions that can be placed on a suspect when they are released on bail, including but not limited to, being required to phone the police periodically for mandatory ‘check-ins’; home confinement; drug testing or alcohol counseling; and electronic monitoring.
Another very common aspect of any conditional release on bail is a protective order. This order requires the defendant to refrain against any criminal actions or activity against the alleged victim, or in severe cases, have no contact at all with a victim. In either instance, violation of this order will place the defendant under an automatic forfeit of any bail posted, and may impose a further fine or prison sentence.