Each year, law enforcement arrests millions of people throughout the US. While most of these arrests never end in a formal trial for a variety of reasons, several go through the court process. And depending on the nature of the offense, you may be set free on bail during the trial period.
However, being out on bail doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. If you are out on bail, it is in your best interest that you understand and strictly live up to the conditions of your bail. This includes honoring every court date. If you do not, you might end up grappling with serious consequences.
Immediate consequences of missing your court date
It is not uncommon for your bail to be paid by a bond company. If this is the case with your situation, then jumping bail means that you will also have a major financial problem. The bond company that deposited your bail money will certainly come after you.
Likewise, if you or your relatives deposited property – such as a car jewelry or home – as collateral, then you risk forfeiting these assets if you jump bail. Imagine losing your family home or retirement savings because you simply didn’t show up for your court date.
Long-term consequences of missing your court date
Once you’re caught, you’ll probably be heading to jail until your trial is over. That can make it harder to participate in your own defense.
Plus, jumping bail will eventually feature on your criminal record. Meaning, should you get in trouble with the law again, the judge will take note of your history of jumping bail. Consequently, this can sway the judge to set a higher bail amount or deny you bail altogether.
If you are freed on bail, it is critical that you honor your court dates. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests when facing a criminal charge.