Before being released from jail for trial, criminal defendants are sometimes compelled to post bail. Bail reduces the likelihood of these individuals fleeing rather than face accusations in court. Skipping bail occurs when a criminal fails to appear in court after posting bail, and it can result in harsh repercussions.
How Does Bail Work?
Bail is a legally binding agreement between a defendant and the court. To be freed from jail until his or her trial date, the defendant must pay a set sum of money. The court will restore the bail money if the defendant appears in court as scheduled. Otherwise, the court has the authority to revoke bail and keep the funds.
Bail is imposed by the court based on the likelihood that the defendant will flee the scene of the crime. Bail is set very high if the defendant has a lot of money or has shown recklessness in the past. The courts assume that offenders will not risk a big sum of money; also, if the bail is set too high, the defendant may be unable to pay and may be forced to remain in jail, insuring his or her appearance in court.
Defendants or their family members post bail in several circumstances. A bail bonds company may provide money to the defendant or a family member in particular instances. The defendant or a family member pays 10% of the bail sum, with the rest paid by the bail bonds firm. The defendant and/or the defendant’s family must then make monthly payments to the bail bonds company until the bail is fully paid off.
Consequences of Failure to Pay Bail
A defendant is said to have “skipped bail” if he or she fails to appear in court on the scheduled day. Defaulting on bail has a number of ramifications:
- For contempt of court, the court issues an arrest warrant for the defendant. These charges will be brought against the offender in addition to the initial charges for which he or she was arrested.
- The court has the authority to revoke bail and keep any money that has been posted.
- A civil lawsuit for breach of contract may be filed against the defendant if he or she used a bail bondsman.
- If the defendant’s family posted bail, the defendant’s family relationships may suffer if the money is lost.
Bail has been reinstated.
The court may reinstate bail if a person who has skipped bail turns himself in or is apprehended for doing so. In order to be reinstated, the offender must show that he or she had a solid reason for jumping bail. Typically, an attorney is required to assist in the satisfactory resolution of this matter. If bail is reestablished, the defendant is granted a new court date and the court agrees to return the defendant’s bail money if he or she shows up in court.
Bail is taken seriously by the courts. If the prisoner is a flight risk or is accused of a particularly violent offense, bail may be rejected or made exceedingly high. To prevent losing bail money, it’s critical to return to court at the designated hour after bail has been paid.