Arrests for serious crimes are likely to trigger requests for bail. This is true not just in Massachusetts but in every state. Bail orders are set in various situations. Bail orders depend on the severity of the crime charged and other things more fully discussed below in this post. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 276 Section 58 sets out the procedure for most bail matters. Initial orders of bail that are set in court are matters that should be handled by an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If not handled properly there is a chance that you can be held in jail. This post looks at the time and manner when bail is usually addressed.
Who Sets Bail If Someone Gets Arrested After Court or on Weekends?
If someone gets arrested on a weekend, or after court hours the police department or arresting agency will call a clerk magistrate who is on call in the court where the case will initially be prosecuted. The clerk magistrate makes a visit to the police station, reviews the police report and checks on the person’s record. Subsequently, an order of bail is set. If the detainee, or family member or friend can post the bail it is done at the police station. The bail commissioner or clerk magistrate gets a forty dollar fee and a recognizance is given to the defendant telling him when and where to appear for court.
What If I Cannot Afford to Pay the Bail Set by the Bail Commissioner?
I get asked this question all the time. For the most part the bail commissioner is very cautious about the bail he sets. Their focus is on safety to the community and ensuring that the accused appears to answer on the criminal complaint. Usually, the order set by the bail commissioner will be higher than what a judge will set. So, don’t despair. Your lawyer has a good chance to get you a lower bail when the case goes to court.
How do Bail Arguments Work in the District Court?
So lets say the bail commissioner sets a bail you cannot pay. You are going to get arraigned the very next court day. Now, if the district attorney wants bail to be set he will move this judge to set an order of bail. The judge will then listen to arguments. The district attorney will tell the judge how severe the crime is, a little bit about your criminal history and his reasons for requesting bail. Your lawyer will argue otherwise. He will argue that the crime is not as serious as represented by the district attorney. He will argue that you have strong roots in the community. He will argue that you are not a danger to the community at large. He will argue that you are not a risk of flight. The judge weighs these arguments and sets the order of bail.
Can I Appeal a District Court Judge’s Order of Bail?
You sure can. Massachusetts has a procedure known as a bail appeal. You have the right to ask a Superior Court judge to reduce the order of bail. The argument is treated much the same was as in the district court. Bail appeals can occur the same day as your district court arraignment. Take the case of Brenda Torres and Norberto Nova, both from Lawrence, Massachusetts. Both have been charged with trafficking heroin and cocaine and are being held on $250,000 bail. The likelihood of them posting that is slim so I imagine that they did move for a bail reduction.
Boston Criminal Defense
We have been making bail arguments for nearly thirty years. Rarely are our clients held in custody. We have had judges set orders of bail for several of our clients charged with murder. This is a rarity in Massachusetts. If you need help with your case call 617-263-6800 or send us an email.