"Bail" is money or property that a defendant puts up as a promise to return for future court dates. See Massachusetts Rules Governing Persons Authorized to Take Bail for more information.
If a defendant cannot post bail, the site Bail Bonds Massachusetts may be helpful in locating where the defendant is held.
Return of Bail: Bail may be returned to the person who guaranteed the bail, called the surety, at the end of the case. In order to have the cash or property that was put up for bail refunded you must bring the blue receipt and picture identification to the criminal clerk's office in the courthouse that issued the receipt. The bail can only be returned to the individual who signed for the bail. If the receipt is lost go to the clerk's office and ask if there is an alternative for having the bail returned.
Forfeited Bail: Bail is forfeited by the court and turned over to the State Treasurer when the defendant fails to appear in court on any date prior to the conclusion of the case.
Part 2: Arraignment or First Appearance in Court
- Can court staff help me?
- What should I wear to court?
- Where should I go when I arrive at the court building?
- What should I do when I enter the arraignment courtroom?
- What conduct is expected in the courtroom?
- Who are the people in the courtroom?
- What will happen at my arraignment?
- What is bail (or bond)?
- When can I first talk to my court appointed lawyer?
- Can I dispose of my case at arraignment?
- What happens when I talk to the prosecutor (during a break in my court appearance) about resolving my case?
- Can my case be continued?
- What could my punishment be?
- What happens if I am charged with a crime but I am not a United States citizen?
- What is the difference between civil infractions, misdemeanors and felonies?
- What happens if my case is not resolved at arraignment?
- What should I do before I leave court?
- Part 3: Pre-Trial, Trial and Verdict