Think Twice before Jumping or Skipping Bail…There are Serious Consequences!
Everyday someone commits a crime they think they can get away with, or just happen to make a bad decision that turns out to be a crime. “OMG! What do I do now?” is the thought that most likely runs through their head, which provokes overwhelming, confusing and scary thoughts, at best.
You know the saying, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” Well, this is where the thoughts of jumping or skipping bail might come to mind. However, there are serious consequences when you don’t follow the rules set forth by the law, and they only get worse as time goes on if you make the wrong decision not to abide by them.
When you are arrested for a crime, no matter if it’s for a felony or a misdemeanor, you will have to appear in court for an arraignment hearing. If your crime is of a non-violent nature and you are a first-time offender, you may be eligible to post bail prior to your arraignment hearing. The arraignment hearing is for the judge to make a determination as to the severity of your crime and take into consideration any prior or outstanding charges against you. At this point, the judge will decide if the bail amount needs to be increased, decreased or exonerated. Then, you will be released until your next scheduled court appearance. Keep in mind that you must appear for all scheduled court appearances after your initial hearing, or you will be considered a “fugitive”, which will open a whole new can of worms.
You must realize that posting bail and being released from jail is a ‘privilege’ that the court extends to defendants to allow them to work on their defense and to get back to their family and friends, whose emotional support is critical at this time, plus a job, if you have one.
What happens when you jump or skip bail and don’t show up on your scheduled court dates? The court immediately issues a “bench warrant” for your arrest and the total amount of the bail bond is in jeopardy, which means that if a family member or a good friend put up any collateral, like their house or car, they could lose that collateral because of your actions. However, the bail bondsman now has 6-months to find you and surrender you back to the court. If after the 6-months they have not had any luck finding you, the bond will be forfeited, and the entire amount of the original bail will be due to the court. The impact at this point will affect the bail bondsman and the co-signer of the bond because your family member or friend will be financially responsible for paying the total bond, along with any other expenses incurred by the bondsman in their effort to find you and bring you to justice. Hopefully, you have enough of a conscious not to want your mother to lose the roof over her head that she worked so hard to provide for you, as well.
Unlike the police or sheriff’s departments, California bail bondsmen don’t need a warrant to search your home and actively try to find you. They may choose to hire a bounty hunter to help in the search, and you better believe that they will not stop their search until they find you and surrender you back to the court. This results in an additional crime on your record, along with the re-instatement of the original bond, and possibly an additional bond to bail you out, if the judge allows your release at all. Plus, if any money has been paid out by the bail bondsman, you can be sure that will have to pay them back.
In conclusion, it is not worth “jumping or skipping” bail because it only perpetuates the crime, and adds more trouble to your bottom line… and you WILL pay in one way or another! So, think twice before challenging the law because it will work against you every time.