The term “bail jumping” refers an individual failing to appear in court after posting bail, which is a court payment made by a defendant. In return for the money, the court releases the defendant from jail.
Is Bail Jumping a Crime?
Yes, bail jumping is a crime. In fact, it is a separate crime from the original criminal charge that landed the defendant in jail.
What Are the Penalties for Bail Jumping?
Under federal and state laws, there are specific consequences for not appearing in court while on bail:
- The money paid for bail is not returned to the defendant
- The defendant continues to face the original criminal charges
- The defendant may face additional criminal charges
How Long Will I Have to Spend in Jail If I Jump Bail?
It depends on the length of time between when a person jumps bail and is return to custody. Some jurisdictions require a defendant spend 30 days in jail and forfeiting their bail. Other jurisdictions treat skipping bail a felony crime. The defendant faces a longer time behind bars.
Am I Automatically Guilty of Jumping Bail?
No. The prosecutor must still prove that you purposefully failed to appear in court. Intent is the sole element of a skipping bail charge. The prosecution must show the defendant intentionally did not appear in court.
Are There Any Defenses to Skipping Bail?
Yes. The defenses available to a defendant depend on the jurisdiction. One defense is the defendant could not appear because of circumstances beyond his control.
Should I Contact an Attorney about Jumping Bail?
If you failed to appear in court and are charged with skimping bail, talk to a criminal attorney. A lawyer will explain the law and advise you of your legal options.