Bail Jumping occurs when you are released on bail and, rather than appear for trial, you hop on a Greyhound Bus and make a run for the border. So, while you’re living in seclusion someplace down in Mexico or Brazil, the prosecutor is busy typing out a felony indictment alleging Bail Jumping. Simply put, bail jumping occurs when you knowingly fail to appear before a court as required or you knowingly fail to surrender for service of a sentence pursuant to a court order.
The key word here is knowingly – this is the mental state that the Government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction.
In many instances, for whatever reason, the client will not know when their court date is.
Maybe the dog ate the notice of the next court date; maybe a strong gust of wind blew your notice from your hand and up into the atmosphere. While not knowing ones court date may seem ill advised, that does not make one guilty of Bail Jumping. It is an “affirmative” defense to Bail Jumping that uncontrollable circumstances prevented the person from appearing or surrendering and that the person did not contribute to the creation of such circumstances and that the person appeared or surrendered as soon as such circumstances ceased to exist. An “affirmative” defense is a defense that the accused must prove by a preponderance of the evidence.
The penalties for bail jumping can be severe. For example, if you’re on bail for a Class A Felony (punishable by up to 7 ½ to 15 years in prison) and you knowingly fail to appear, you face another 7 ½ to 15 year sentence for Bail Jumping. If you’re on bail for a class B felony, then fail to appear in court, you’re looking at an additional 3 ½ to 7 years for Bail Jumping.
Our telephone number is: 603-595-5525