Bail conditions

Learn about the different bail conditions that can be applied.

Table of Contents

No bail conditions

There are some circumstances where bail may not be offered.

  • Major felony charges — In Massachusetts, defendants charged with more serious criminal felony charges, like murder or rape, may be held without bail until they’re brought to trial or plead guilty.
  • Additional violations or unresolved defaults that resulted in re-arrest — If a defendant is arrested for violating an Abuse Prevention Order (209A), or if a defendant has an unresolved default warrant with a penalty of over 100 days in jail, the law states that they not be released on bail unless ordered by a judge. The police will hold the defendant until they’re brought to court.
  • Probation warrants — Probation officers can ask for warrants for electronic bracelet and probation violations. Defendants arrested on these types of warrants can’t be bailed unless ordered by a judge.

Default warrant for money owed to the court

When a defendant doesn’t pay court fees and/or fines, the court may issue a default warrant. The default warrant includes the amount that the defendant owes related to the case. To be released from custody, the defendant may be required to pay that amount as bail.

Release conditions

The bail magistrate can release the defendant with certain conditions that the defendant has to follow. For example, in a domestic violence or harassment case, the bail magistrate may order that the defendant stays away from the victim and has no contact with them. The defendant can be arrested again for violating the bail magistrate’s conditions.

Penalties

  • Penalty for not appearing in court after release on bail or recognizance — A defendant who doesn’t appear in court and has no valid excuse after they were released on bail or personal recognizance may be punished by:
    • A fine of $10,000, a year in prison, or both for a misdemeanor case
    • A fine of $50,000, 5 years in prison, or both for a felony case
  • Penalty for committing a crime while released on bail or personal recognizance — If a defendant is charged with another crime while released on bail or personal recognizance, the court may revoke (cancel) their release terms. The court may order the defendant to be held without bail for up to 90 days.

Legal Counsel Fee (fee for appointed lawyer)

The court can’t return bail to the defendant or to the surety (the person who has posted the bail) until the Legal Counsel Fee has been paid.

Contact

Phone

Catherine M. Coughlin, Esquire (617) 788-7312

Address

Suffolk County Courthouse
3 Pemberton Square
Room 320
Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: April 22, 2022
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