Common Questions About Bail and Bail Reviews

What is bail?

If you have been charged with a crime in Massachusetts, the prosecutor has the ability to request that the judge sets a bail. The bail is an amount of money that must be paid in order for you to be released from custody.

How is bail determined?

Bail is determined based on the allegations in the case and your criminal records – specifically with regards to any defaults or probation violations.

What if I can’t afford to post the bail?

If you cannot afford the bail, you can always have a family member post on your behalf. However, if no one can afford to post your bail then you will be held in the county jail until you are able to post the bail or your case is disposed of through the courts.

What is a bail review?

If you have been charged in the District Court, you have the right to appeal the bail amount to a Superior Court judge. This process is called a bail review and is essentially a new bail argument before a different judge in the local Superior Court.

Is there any downside to a bail review?

Yes. You should never request a bail review if you have the ability to post bail by some other means. The reason for this is because while the Superior Court judge has the power to lower your bail, they also can increase it.

How do I request a bail review?

Typically, your lawyer can will scheduled your matter for a bail review. However, you can also file a motion from the jail – however, you should always talk to your lawyer before filing any motions yourself as they can hurt you if the timing or content isn’t correct.

What if my bail review is denied?

If your bail review is denied by the Superior Court, you can request that the judge in District Court who set you bail reconsider their decision. However, you will often need to show that there was some change in circumstances in order to be successful.