A bail magistrate is the person who sets the bail amount, according to the Massachusetts Court System. This is a public officer with judicial authority. This person looks at details of the arrest, including the criminal history of the person arrested.
When the bail magistrate sets the bail, he considers whether the individual is a flight risk and if he has a criminal record, notes the Massachusetts Court System. If someone looks to be a risk of not attending future court dates, the person either has a higher bail set or doesn't get out on bail. He also needs to consider a history of defaults and what the supposed crime was. His nearby family and employment are also considered when choosing the bail amount.
A new law regarding bail is that the magistrate has to look at the risk the person has to the community or the victims involved in the crime, says the Massachusetts Court System.
If the person arrested doesn't have access to the full bail amount, his family member needs to get a bail bond, says NOLO. The bail bond company typically requires at least a 10 percent nonrefundable down payment and possibly collateral. The person getting the bond signs a guarantee that the person arrested is going to go to his court dates.