The Dangerousness Statute
The Massachusetts Dangerousness statute defines certain crimes and criteria under which a defendant can be held without the possibility of being bailed out for one hundred and twenty days. That's a full four months in jail before the Commonwealth even has to prove its case against you. This statue is commonly invoked in seriously violent cases. For example, where a defendant is charged with using a firearm during a crime it is likely that the Commonwealth would seek to have that person held without bail. However, recent legislative changes have expanded the scope of the law to include crimes where the defendant is merely alleged to have been in possession of a gun at the time of the offense, and cases of domestic assault and battery where changes in the law have made clear that the legislature expects defendants to be held without bail on a much more frequent basis.
The Dangerousness Hearing
A dangerousness hearing requires the Commonwealth to prove that the charges fall under the statute authorizing the defendant's detention, and that no conditions can be imposed by the court that would adequately protect the public. Even before the Commonwealth has to prove that much, the defendant can be held for three days without any proof whatsoever. Dangerousness hearings are very serious matters and require substantial preparation in a small amount of time. They can be won, and must always be fought vigorously.
If you or anyone you know has been charged with an offense involving a gun, you should contact an attorney immediately.