If you or a loved one have been arrested, you may have had to post bail
to be released from jail. Bail is set by the judge based on the bail schedule
of the county, your criminal history, your risk of flight, and specific
facts of the case. You can pay bail through cash, posting a bail bond,
or by allowing the court to place a lien on your property. By paying bail,
you ensure the court that you will make future court appearances.
What happens if I just skip bail?
Bail is an important part of the criminal justice process. If you decide
to post bail and then fail to appear in court, you are now faced with
an additional criminal charge.
When you skip bail, you:
- Forfeit the amount already paid in bail;
- Continue to face the impending criminal charges; and
- Face additional charges for bail jumping.
In addition, a judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest. This refers
to a warrant issued by a judge because you failed to appear in court.
This is considered being in contempt of court, and can additionally result
in a probation violation, time behind bars, increased fines, and even
the suspension of your driver's license.
None of the cash bail paid will be returned if you do not show up for your
court date. If you paid using a bail bond, the bail bond company will
seek the money from you and your cosigner. Additionally, a bail bondsmen
may also find you and turn you into the court on their own. This can be
avoided if you appear within 180 days of the bail forfeiture and give
a valid excuse as to why you were unable to attend court.
Someone that chooses to skip bail is only perpetuating their original criminal
accusations and adding additional trouble to their case. On top of that,
they must pay back the bail amount one way or another.