What is Bail Jumping or Bail Skipping?
Once you’ve paid a bond agent, you’re able to walk free until your court date. But you might still have questions about the bail bond process. What happens between now and the court date? What is bail jumping or bail skipping? Read on to learn more about bail skipping and what the consequences are if a defendant fails to appear in court.
What is Bail Jumping?
Bail jumping means not showing up in court when you’re supposed to. It’s also known as bail skipping. Skipping bail is illegal in every state. Doing so will add to the charges pending against you and create financial stress for your family.
What Happens if a Defendant Fails to Appear in Court?
If you don’t show up for your scheduled court date, several things can happen. The bond agent will make arrangements to reschedule your court hearing and attempt to bring you to the court on the rescheduled date.
The bond agent will agree to bring you into court, usually by hiring a bail recovery agent. In California, the court allows the recovery agent 180 days to find you.
Skipping Bail is Illegal
Make no mistake. Skipping bail is illegal. A defendant who fails to appear in court is considered a fugitive and will likely face additional charges.
If you have misdemeanor charges, you could get a felony charge for the bail skip added to your charges. If you already have felony charges, you’ll have an additional felony charge attached to your record. If you’re on parole or probation, you will be in violation of your terms.
Jumping Bail Consequences
Skipping bail can have serious consequences on your legal status, finances, and ability to mitigate your sentence. In addition to the bail jumping charges, you can expect the following to happen.
If you used your property to secure the bond, the court has the right to seize that property and sell it.
If your family members used their home, cars or other property to help you pay the bond, the court will take that property too.
The bond agent is legally entitled to hire a bail recovery agent to find you. These agents are not required to follow the rules of arrest that police officers are. They can enter your home without a warrant and arrest you without informing you of your rights.
When you sign up with a bond agent, you authorize all of the above to happen.
Bail Jumping on a Felony Case
If you skip bail on a felony charge, the court can issue a bench warrant for your arrest, resulting in additional charges and possible parole violations.
Most courts don’t look kindly on a defendant’s failure to appear. Judges have ruled against defendants that said they were sick, intoxicated, forgot the date or didn’t receive notice of a court date.
Bail Jumping Charges
Even if you’re acquitted of the original charge you were arrested for, you will still have to face possible felony charges for skipping bail.
Jumping bail consequences are severe. Bail jumping on a felony case might mean lost money, lost property and increased jail time.
Skipping Bail California
Failure to appear in California can have severe consequences, especially if you’re already facing felony charges. California law allows bail bond agents to use all legal methods to find you, bring you to court and recover the money. Skipping bail California is a bad idea.
Failure to Appear California Misdemeanor
Bail jumping on a felony case is bad enough. Failure to appear for a misdemeanor charge even more foolish. Now you have to face your original misdemeanor charge in addition to the bail jumping charges.
Most misdemeanors in California are punished by short jail stays, fines of under $1000, probation and similar sentences. Failure to appear could result in heavier fines and a longer stay in jail.
Don’t take the risk of a failure to appear California misdemeanor. Bail skipping is illegal. It’s also a foolish way to handle your upcoming court case. Showing up for your trial is the best way to move forward and avoid further legal problems.