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What Happens When You Skip Bail?

 Posted on January 11, 2024 in Bail Bonds

Dallas bail bond professionalBeing released on bail after an arrest allows defendants to be free until their court date. However, this freedom comes with responsibilities. Skipping out on bail has serious legal consequences. A Texas bail bond professional can help you or your loved one with potential bail.

The Bail Bonding Process

After an arrest, a judge will set a bail amount based on factors like criminal history and flight risk. The defendant can pay the full bail amount upfront or use a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman charges a fee, usually 10% of the bail amount, to post a bond for the entire bail on the defendant’s behalf. This allows the defendant to be released from jail to await trial. The bail bond is a contract stating that the defendant will appear for all court dates. If they fulfill this obligation, the bail bondsman returns the fee at the end of the case. If not, the bondsman is authorized to apprehend and return the defendant to custody.

What Constitutes Skipping Bail?

A defendant has “skipped bail” if they deliberately fail to appear in court after being released on bail. Even if they initially intend to appear, not appearing for any required court date is considered skipping bail. Defendants must appear at all proceedings related to their case - arraignments, hearings, trials, sentencings, or similar. Simply leaving town is not enough to be considered skipping bail. But once a court date is missed, the act of skipping bail has occurred.

Consequences of Skipping Bail

There are severe legal and financial repercussions for defendants who skip bail in Texas:

  • Bond forfeiture: The court will confiscate the bail money paid and issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. The bondsman is also authorized to apprehend the defendant legally.
  • Additional criminal charges: Skipping bail constitutes a separate crime of bail jumping, which is a felony in Texas punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
  • Higher bail set: If apprehended after skipping bail, the court will set a new, higher bail amount, making it much harder for the defendant to bond out again.
  • Loss of plea bargain opportunities: Defendants who miss court dates lose negotiating leverage and access to any plea bargains they may have been offered.
  • Harsher sentence: Failing to appear is viewed as a sign of disrespect for the courts. Judges tend to impose the maximum penalties at sentencing, with no leniency shown.

Contact a Dallas, TX, Bail Bond Professional

Skipping bail may seem like an easy way to avoid dealing with legal troubles in the short term. But it only leads to more severe long-term consequences. Instead of running, defendants should appear responsibly at all court dates, comply with conditions of release, and work earnestly with their attorneys to resolve their cases lawfully. A Bonham, TX, bail bond professional can help navigate the steps with you. Call 214-747-4110 to get started.

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