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Must a detainee provide ID (at the bail commissioner's request) in addition to the bail money in order to be released on bail?

Cambridge, MA |

My friend has been held in jail (at the police department) for 18 hours and has not been told why he was arrested. The police say he will be arraigned on Tuesday (at least 60 hours in jail), but will not release him on bail because we cannot provide a government-issued ID for him. Apparently, this was the bail commissioner's decision, likely made after my friend told the police that he does not have any current ID.

There would be no cause to guess that he is an illegal immigrant, as they know who he is and where he went to college. He was likely arrested on a warrant, since police entered the house without permission, yet neither the detectives nor the police would show the warrant to a resident of the house. Lots of issues here, but I just want him out as soon as possible.

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

There is nothing worse than getting arrested on a long weekend and not being admitted to bail. If your friend was arrested on a default warrant (after failing to appear in court when he was supposed to) then the Judge may have ordered the warrant to be non-bailable. If he was arrested on a straight warrant, the bail commissioner has the discretion to admit him to bail. There is a presumption in the law in favor of release; however, if the bail commissioner concludes that your friend poses a risk of flight (that is, he will not show up in Court) or if the bail commissioner feels he poses a danger to the community or to an individual in the community then the bail commissioner can set a cash bail or in the alternative can refuse to set any bail and order that he be held for court on Tuesday. His lack of an ID could be a critical factor if the police did not know who he is. But if they know him then the lack of an ID should not prohibit him from getting released on bail. If the bail commissioner has set bail or has denied him bail there is not a great deal that can be done until Tuesday. If you hired a good criminal lawyer for your friend, that lawyer could call the police and ask to be put in touch with the weekend on-call judge to see if your friend can get released. Good Luck.

Robert D. Lewin, Attorney
Offices in Malden and Andover serving all of Eastern, MA
Tel. 781-322-2228
Fax. 781-322-6351


You should contact and retain a criminal defense attorney ASAP.

This is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Contact with and hire a criminal defense attorney ASAP. As you have realized by now, this is a very serious matter.

Ilir Kavaja, Esq.

(617) 515-5545

The above is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer.



Thanks, I do understand that he needs an attorney. I unfortunately cannot communicate with my friend in jail, and I cannot afford an attorney for him, so I am looking to get him out and talking with his family so he can pay for an attorney.

Ilir Kavaja

Ilir Kavaja


Depending on your friend's criminal record, the offense charged and the immigration status, it may not be possible to get your friend out. I suggest an initial consult with an attorney to get a clearer picture. Your friend's family may be able to help with hiring an attorney. An attorney will be able to go talk with your friend and help find out what the charges are. Hope this helps.


You need to retain an attorney who can assist you.

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