You are arrested and brought to court the following morning. The biggest question that most people have is will they get out of jail that day. The answer is it depends on the judge and the decision he or she will makes. The judge at arraignment can do several things in deciding your freedom. (Picture taken by Mindsay Mohan)
Option 1, the judge could decide to let you leave on your own personal recognizance. That means the judge has decided to release you without any bail. This is the best case scenario. Option 2, the judge could decide to hold you without bail. This is the worst case scenario. Most judges will lean towards holding a person on a very high cash bail verses holding you without bail.
The reason the court tends to stray away from holding a person without bail is because the rights we are afforded under the constitution. Therefore, judges tend to stay away from holding a person without bail. Holding a person without bail is usually reserved for cases in which a person is being held on a murder charge.
Option 3, the judge could decide to hold you on some type of bail. The bail needs to be reasonable for the circumstances, but judges have wide discretion in deciding what reasonable means. The judge will usually say something like $1,000 cash bail or $10,000 surety. In Massachusetts, that means in order to obtain your freedom you need to put up $1,000 cash or sign over something that is of the value of $10,000 or more. If you show up to all your court dates you can get your bail money back or get to keep the item you put up for surety. If you default or fail to show up to court, then the court gets to keep the money or gets to seize the item you put up for surety.
There are many factors that a judge will use in determining your bail. Read my next blog post for bail factors that a judge may consider.