Skipping bail may not sound like a serious offense, but it can have extremely negative consequences. Whether you or a loved one paid the cost of your bail, skipping court sets up a chain of events that will negatively affect everyone involved.
Purpose of Bail
Understanding the purpose of bail can help you to understand why skipping court is such a serious offense. When you're charged with a crime and placed in jail, your bail is the amount of money that you or a loved one can pay to get, and keep, you out of jail until your scheduled court date. The person who pays your bail will likely work with a bail bond agent. Your friend or family member pays the bail bond agent a certain percentage of the bail cost, then the bail bond agent pays the full amount under the agreement that you will show up to all scheduled court dates.
Consequences of Skipping Bail
Skipping bail, or jumping bail, means that you fail to appear at one of your scheduled court dates. If you don't show up for a court appearance, any of the following can occur:
- A warrant can be issued for your arrest. The local police will be notified that you skipped bail, and if you get pulled over for any reason, you will be arrested.
- Your driver's license can be suspended. In this case, your license won't be valid again until you appear in court.
- You can be ineligible to be bailed out of jail in the future.
- You will be charged with additional offenses, which can include failure to appear in court or contempt of court. If you're found guilty of these charges, you can face additional fines and jail time.
- The amount of your bond can be increased, whether or not you've already posted bail.
Consequences for Others
In most cases, a friend or family member pays your bail. In this situation, if you skip bail, you are putting this person in a precarious position. If the person cosigned on your bond, he or she will have to pay the full amount of the bond, no matter his or her financial situation.
Keep in mind that in some cases, the person who pays your bail is forced to use his or her home, car, or other asset as collateral. If you skip bail, your friend or family member's property will be surrendered to the court, leaving him or her in a dire situation.
Bail Bond Agency Actions
Most often, people work with bail bond agents to pay the cost of bail. A bail bond agent pays the full bail only on the condition that you will show up at your court date. If you don't appear at the scheduled time, the court notifies your bail bond agency that your bail bond is in default. The agency then has a certain amount of time to bring you into court. Your bail bond agency may then work with one or more bounty hunters to locate you and make sure you appear in court. Clearly, this is not a comfortable situation for anyone involved.
Skipping bail is never a good idea. It can land you in trouble far more serious than your original arrest, and it has negative consequences for everyone involved in your situation. For more information, or if you need the assistance of one of our qualified bail bond agents, contact us today.