Bail Jumping In Tarrant County
Unfortunately, there happen to be many excuses and the possible reasons someone may skip bail in Tarrant County. If someone fails to appear in court for a required court date in a criminal case, this is often called “bail jumping.” This is something you should never do because Bail jumping is a separate criminal offense under Texas Penal Code § 38.10. Failure to appear is a misdemeanor. But, it is enhanced to a third-degree felony if the offense for which the defendant’s appearance required was a felony. There must be proven support for a conviction for this offense. The evidence must prove that the released defendant intentionally or knowingly failed to appear, in accordance with the terms of the release.
Failing to Appear to Court
In addition to charging you with a crime, the court can take various actions if you fail to appear. When you seek the help of a bail bondsman to release a loved one, you must understand the consequences. When the defendant does not fulfill his/her obligations, they still need to return to court to attend the trial. If you missed a court date, especially if the case is a felony, you may be charged with bail jumping. When a court date is missed, a warrant will be issued and your bond may be forfeited. If the defendant doesn’t show up in court for the hearing, they are actually creating a huge problem for themselves. As the Indemnitor or co-signer of the bail bond, this will affect you as well.
The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure sets the statute of limitations for bail jumping at three years. Generally speaking, the statute of limitations begins to run at the time an offense is committed. Or, sometimes at the time an offense is discovered.
Possible Bail Jumping Consequences
- Bond revocation or conditions of release change: If the court did not require you to post a bond and released you on your own recognizance, the judge could change your conditions. A bond may be imposed for your release, requiring that you deposit money with the court while your case is pending. If you already posted a bond in your criminal case, the judge could increase the bond amount. Depending on the situation, its possible the judge could require that you stay in jail until your case is completed.
- Bench warrant: The judge can issue a warrant for your arrest If you fail to appear in court when ordered. After a warrant is issued, you could be taken into custody at any time In a serious criminal case, the judge also may request that the police execute a warrant at your workplace and even your home.
- Jail sentence and fines: A judge can impose a jail sentence or fines if you are found guilty of failure to appear or contempt of court.
- Suspension of your driver’s license: The judge can order your driver’s license to be suspended once you have failed to appear in court. This suspension may be effective until you appear before a judge to address the failure to appear.
Talk to a Lawyer and your bail bondsman
Have you been charged with bail jumping or simply missed your court date? It is common to not know what to do, but we recommend talking to a local criminal defense attorney. A Tarrant County lawyer will be able to advise local practices and your best course of action. This includes whether surrendering to the court or the authorities may prevent a bail jumping charge. If you give your local 24hr bail bondsman a call, they may have other information for you.