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General Laws

Section 61B. No person proposing to become bail or surety in a criminal case for hire or reward, either received or to be received, shall be accepted as such unless he shall have been approved and registered as a professional bondsman by the superior court or a justice thereof. No person proposing to become bail or surety in a criminal case in any calendar year after having become bail or surety in criminal cases on five separate occasions in said year shall be accepted thereafter during said year as bail or surety unless he shall have been approved and registered as a professional bondsman as aforesaid. A person who has been accepted as bail or surety, contrary to the provisions of this section, shall nevertheless be liable on his obligation as such bail or surety. Such approval and registration may be revoked at any time by such court or a justice thereof, and shall be revoked in case such a bondsman fails for thirty days after demand to satisfy in full a judgment recovered under section seventy-four or a new judgment entered on review under section seventy-six. The district attorney or prosecuting officer obtaining any such judgment which is not satisfied in full as aforesaid shall, forthwith upon the expiration of such period of thirty days, notify in writing the chief justice of such court. All professional bondsmen shall be governed by rules which shall be established from time to time by the superior court. Any unregistered person receiving hire or reward for his services as bail or surety in any criminal case, and any unregistered person becoming bail or surety in any criminal case in any calendar year after having become bail or surety in criminal cases on five separate occasions in said year, and any professional bondsman violating any provision of the rules established hereunder for such bondsmen, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. The provisions of this section shall not apply to probation officers.

A guaranteed arrest bond certificate presented by the person whose signature appears thereon shall be accepted in lieu of cash or a bail bond in an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars to guarantee the appearance of such person in any court of the commonwealth, at the time required by such court, when such person is arrested for violation of any law or of any ordinance or by-law of any municipality therein relating to the operation of a motor vehicle. A guaranteed arrest bond certificate so presented in lieu of a bail bond is subject to the same forfeiture and enforcement provisions as a bail bond or cash bail. Such guaranteed arrest bond certificate may only be used where the alleged violation is committed prior to the expiration date shown thereon. A guaranteed arrest bond certificate may not be accepted when a person is arrested for the offense of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of drugs or narcotics. As used in this section, “guaranteed arrest bond certificate” shall mean a printed card or other certificate issued by a licensed automobile association or travel club to any of its members, which is signed by the member and contains a printed statement that such automobile association or travel club and a surety company licensed to do business shall, in the event of the failure of such person to appear in court at the time set for appearance, pay any fine or forfeiture imposed upon such person in an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars.

Whenever a domestic or foreign company licensed to do a surety business in the commonwealth becomes surety in an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars with respect to any guaranteed arrest bond certificates issued in such year by an automobile association or travel club by filing with the office of bail administration an undertaking to become surety, such undertaking shall state: (1) The name and address of the automobile or travel club or association with respect to guaranteed arrest bond certificates of which the surety company undertakes to be surety; (2) The unqualified obligation of the surety company to pay the fine or forfeiture in an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars of any person who, after posting a guaranteed arrest bond certificate with respect to which the surety company has undertaken to be surety, fails to make the appearance for which the guaranteed arrest bond certificate was posted. Such undertaking shall be filed with the office of bail administration ten days prior to its effective date. If such undertaking is terminated, the office of bail administration shall be notified as promptly as possible but not later than the effective date of such termination.

Any such licensed automobile association, travel club or association and any licensed surety company, and its attorneys-in-fact, guaranteeing arrest bond certificates for members of such automobile association, travel club, or association with respect to motor vehicle violations hereunder, pursuant to the provisions of this section, shall not be required to obtain any additional license and compliance herewith shall be deemed to be in lieu of any such additional licensing.

A person shall be deemed to have become bail or surety on a separate occasion within the meaning of this section if he becomes such: (1) for a person in respect to a single offense; or (2) for a person in respect to two or more offenses wherefor he at one and the same time offers bail or surety, or in respect to two or more offenses committed at the same time or arising out of the same transaction or course of conduct wherefor he at different times offers bail or surety; or (3) for two or more persons at the same time offering bail or surety in respect to offenses committed jointly or in common course of conduct. Becoming bail or surety for the same person or persons in subsequent proceedings in connection with prosecution for the same offense or offenses shall not be deemed an additional occasion or occasions.

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