Thousands of Americans find themselves on the wrong side of the law each year. While some cases are dropped by either the police or the courts, others go through the due legal process. Depending on the nature of the crime, you may be released on bail while awaiting the determination of your case.
However, bail is usually a conditional release. Thus, if you are out on bail, it is important that understand and obey the conditions set out by the bail terms, including honoring court dates. Failing to appear in court for your trial or “jumping bail” can land you in trouble.
Here are some of the possible consequences of jumping bail during your criminal trial:
You will likely forfeit your bond
When you are set free on bond, it is on the condition that you will show up for your court dates. Failing to appear in court without a valid reason automatically results in forfeiture of your bond. This means that you will not get your bond money back if you made a direct deposit to the court. If you used a bail bondsman, you may end up being tracked down by “bounty hunters” intent on returning you to custody.
You could face additional charges
Besides losing your bond money, jumping bail could also lead to additional charges. This is in addition to the original criminal charge. And additional charges mean more penalties.
You could delay the resolution of your case
The whole idea of honoring a court date is so you can go through the trial, resolve the matter and move on with your life. However, jumping bail means that your case will need to be rescheduled. As the result, your charges will take longer to litigate and resolve. Basically, jumping bail equals more legal chaos for you.
Failing to appear in court for your criminal trial will attract some consequences. Knowing your legal options can help you safeguard your rights while facing a criminal charge.