When a criminal defendant posts bail in order to be released from jail, they agree to appear in court at a specified date and time. Jumping bail, also known as skipping bail, involves a deliberate attempt by a criminal defendant to avoid prosecution or sentencing. Jumping bail will result in the forfeiture of the defendant’s bail bond. The presiding judge is also likely to issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
As a criminal defendant, your bail bond can be forfeited even if the judge learns that you have made plans to avoid a scheduled court appearance. A defendant that has taken steps to move to another state, for example, can be arrested for jumping bail.
Jumping Bail is a Crime
Jumping bail is a crime at both the federal and state levels. Depending on the original criminal charge and other related circumstances, jumping bail can even be prosecuted as a felony offense. In the end, the defendant may have to face prosecution for both the original offense and skipping bail. To be found guilty of bail jumping, the prosecution must prove the following elements:
- The presiding judge issued a court order making the defendant eligible for bail
- The defendant received notice of the mandated court appearance
- The defendant subsequently failed to appear in court as required
- The defendant acted in a knowing and willful manner
Depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the original charge, a bail jumping suspect may be given as long as 30 days to appear in court. Aside from forfeiting the purchase price of the bail bond, a bail jumping conviction could mean additional time in jail and heavy financial penalties.
Bail Jumping Defense
Typically, the court will not accept excuses such as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. On the other hand, if you can show that your failure to appear in court was caused by some unforeseen circumstance that was beyond your control, it may be possible to avoid conviction on bail jumping charges. The defendant must prove that they were subject to some unavoidable and unintentional circumstance that was beyond their control.
If it can be demonstrated that you were injured or incapacitated at the time of your scheduled court appearance, the court will likely drop any pending bail related charges. Nevertheless, a check fraud defendant bears the burden of convincing the court that missing a scheduled court appearance was unavoidable.
Check Fraud Lawyer
Jumping bail and check fraud are two very serious crimes in the state of Texas. Those convicted may be spending a lot of time behind bars. If you are facing this situation, then you should consider hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney today. See how Brett A. Podolsky can help you by calling 713.227.0087 today.
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