What Can Happen If You Skip Bail?
After you post bail and receive your release, you must show up to your scheduled court-ordered appearances. If you don’t appear in court on your scheduled date, you’ve skipped bail. Here’s more on skipping bail and what can happen if you do.
What Courts Can Do If You Skip Bail
Skipping bail comes with a charge independent of any other charges you’re facing. Different states can handle this situation in their own ways, but in most cases, you receive severe penalties. This is especially true if the bail skipping is treated as a felony.
Warrant for Your Arrest
If you skip bail, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest. This will give law enforcement the right to seek you out and arrest you immediately if they find you. The warrant doesn’t go away; it will remain active until you’re caught or until you turn yourself in.
In some cases, the warrant will also come with a contempt-of-court charge. This can become yet another charge you will have to deal with in addition to any others.
Revocation and Forfeiture of Bail
Violating a bail condition can lead to a revocation bail. This means the court can’t trust you enough to have you out on bail and you give up your right to any freedom ahead of a trial. You will go back to jail if you’re caught, potentially with new charges on top of the old ones.
Revocation can also lead to forfeiture of bail. When this happens, the court takes whatever money or property you put up for bail. The forfeiture process doesn’t happen immediately, but the longer it takes for you to appear in court, the greater the likelihood of forfeiture.
You or others can lose their money or have property tied up in litigation. Forfeiture can devastate people, especially caring family member who cosigned or offered collateral on your behalf. You or others can lose very important assets or funds in an amount that is hard to recover.
You can also have a lawsuit brought against you and any assets you have if you skip bail while using a bail service. The service will seek remedies because it will not want to pay your bail out of pocket because you didn’t show up to court.
The bail service may go out of its way to find you, just to avoid such an outcome. Many states give sureties, such as bail services, or the right to use bounty hunters to track you and bring you in.
What You Can Do About Skipping Bail
Not all people skip bail for nefarious reasons. Many mitigating factors can lead to you miss a court date. The most important thing you can do is show up for every court date, and don’t violate any conditions of your bail. If you do skip bail, turn yourself in immediately.
Check on your court dates periodically. If something changes, ignorance of the change may not hold up as an excuse. Look out for any official documentation from the court.
Many courts send correspondence through certified mail you have to sign for. If you see a notice that you missed a delivery, make sure you do what you must to get your hands on those documents as soon as possible.
The court can allow you to have a hearing specifically for an alleged charge of skipping bail. You will have your chance to tell your story and show proof you didn’t skip bail on purpose, or that you had a legitimate reason to miss your court date.
You should also speak with your lawyer about your situation if you can’t make it to a court date or need their assistance. Some courts allow your attorney to speak on your behalf if you miss a court date.
The court can reinstate a bail based on your circumstances. You may just receive a new court date with the same bail conditions. You may also receive additional fees or a higher bail amount. You should certainly speak with a lawyer about how to proceed and what kind of requests you can make of the court.
Even in cases where you forfeit the bond, there’s still a possibility to request some or all of it back through a bail remission motion. Skipping bail can come with harsh penalties, but if you’re responsible about the situation, you can sometimes fix the issue without giving up the freedom you paid for.
At Absolute Bail Bonds, we understand the process and the situations that can lead to mistakes like skipping bail. If you have been arrested and need bail or you have more questions about what happens if you skip bail, contact us immediately. We provide bail services in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa and can help you with reclaiming your freedom after an arrest.