How is bail amount determined?


Bail can be determined by a number of factors, but it’s set to ensure a defendant in the case shows up in court.  

Chicopee Police Officer Mike Wilk told 22News 28-year-old Dwayne Howlette of Springfield was arrested following a road rage incident that led to a shooting and police chase from Chicopee into Holyoke March 30.

Howlette’s bail was set at $5,000, despite Chicopee police requesting it to be $50,000. 

Criminal Justice Attorney Joseph Pacella told 22News bail is a commonly misunderstood process in the criminal justice system. 

“Bails that are set are complained about a lot,” Criminal Justice Attorney Joseph Pacella said. “But no one ever goes back and looks at whether that same person on that same bail showed up. Because if they showed up and never defaulted, please don’t complain.”

Pacella told 22News judges and clerks look at a person’s criminal record, mental health, ties to a community, and their finances when setting bail. 

He said higher bails can be granted in a complex case for these reasons. 

Pacella said the bail amount doesn’t impact sentencing.

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