Understanding the Consequences of Bail Jumping
Bail jumping is not showing up for court, forfeiting bond, and failing to surrender within a certain number of days. Bail forfeiture is just one misfortune that can result if you're a no-show. You'll still have to face pending charges, and you might even face additional charges.
What Can I Be Charged With If I Jump Bail?
Even if you are shown to be innocent of the original charges, your innocence is not a defense against bail jumping charges. The judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest if you are in contempt of court. With a bench warrant, you may be arrested and taken to jail at any time.
In some states, bail jumping is an offense if you’re facing felony charges. In other states, bail jumping is an offense regardless of your charges. There are different types of bail jumping charges, too. If you jump bail with a misdemeanor, you'll face different charges than you would by jumping bail with a felony.
How Can I Defend Myself Against Bail Jumping Charges?
To charge you with jumping bail, the prosecution must show that you knowingly and intentionally ignored a court date. It does that by proving you received notice of the court date. Notice can be given several different ways:
- Notice served by the sheriff.
- Notice served by a private process server.
- Notice served in a letter sent by certified mail.
- Notice served in the wording of a bail bond.
If it can be shown that you received proper notice of a court date but failed to appear, you may be able to defend yourself by showing that circumstances beyond your control prevented your appearance.
What Are Some Valid Reasons for Not Showing Up?
Illness may not be considered a viable defense unless you are in the hospital. Being incarcerated in another jurisdiction may not be a viable defense, either. However, if you can clearly show that you were a victim of circumstances in one of these situations or something similar, you might prevail. Your reason for not showing up must be supported by documentation wherever possible:
- Sick child
- Heart attack
- Automobile accident
- Previously scheduled court appearance
- Death of a loved one
Get Help From an Experienced Miami Criminal Defense Attorney Now
After jumping bail, you still have 30 days to surrender. The sooner you take action, the easier the process will be. Miami criminal defense lawyers Hager & Schwartz, P.A. can help you navigate the legal system if you've missed a court date and don't know what to do.
We'll check for a bench warrant in your name and assess whether you had a valid reason for missing court. We'll advise the best course of action and help you to determine whether surrendering to the court would prevent a bail jumping charge.
Contact us today at (305) 330-1360 to learn how we may assist you.