- 2 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Personal recognizance – The bail commissioner in Massachusetts has only two options: one of them is to release a defendant on a promise to return for all scheduled court hearings. A PR release does not require that bail be set and involves only the $40 payment from the defendant to the bail commissioner. The commissioner must consider a variety of factors before releasing a defendant on PR, including his criminal record and whether he poses a risk of not returning to court. In addition, a PR release is more likely granted with a defendant who is established in the community.
Cash bond – The second option for a Massachusetts bail commissioner is a cash bond. The defendant can receive financial assistance from a personal surety. That is generally a family member or friend willing to post some or all of the cash bond on behalf of the defendant.
2. How to Get Bail
After the booking process is completed, the defendant attends an initial hearing with the bail commissioner. If the arrest is late at night or on the weekend, the defendant can request a bail commissioner. A criminal defense attorney can be invaluable in arguing on behalf of the defendant for a release on personal recognizance, which does not require any bail. Some serious crimes are beyond the authority of the bail commissioner and require a bail hearing by a judge in Superior Court.
- What Will Bail Cost
Massachusetts abolished the private bail bond system, eliminating the charge defendants in other states pay to bail bond agents. In addition to a $40 fee to the bail commissioner, there are some court fees and charges.
- How Long Will I Stay in Jail
It will generally take longer to be released on bail for more serious crimes. In the case of murder and rape, the state often will hold defendants until trial without bail. For misdemeanors, defendants must wait until the booking process is completed, which usually takes between 2 and 4 hours. Cash bail can then be posted fairly quickly – a matter of an hour or less – as long as the defendant has the money or a personal surety to put up the cash for the bail.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
If the defendant doesn’t have what court officials consider is a “satisfactory excuse” for missing a court appearance, Massachusetts lawmakers passed a law that specifically punishes defendants released on bail or personal recognizance who then fail to show, with a fine of $10,000, 1 year in jail or both if the original offense was a misdemeanor. If the original offense was felony, the defendant can be fined up to $50,000, sent to prison for five years or both. In addition, court officials will keep any bail payment made by a personal surety.