After an arrest, most people don’t wait in jail for their date to appear in court. Instead, many are released on bail. This bail acts like an insurance policy that should prevent you from failing to appear.
Unfortunately, not everyone will appear for their trial after being released on bail. Some criminal defendants choose to take flight for whatever reasons. Others may have genuine reasons for skipping bail. Regardless of the reasons, skipping bail or jumping bail has serious consequences. You’ll need your Lemoyne criminal defense lawyer to defend you in such a difficult situation.
If you skip bail in Pennsylvania, obviously, the court will issue a warrant of arrest against you. Remember, it won’t be just the police looking for you but also independent bounty hunters and those hired by bail bond agents. These are a few of the consequences of skipping bail in Lemoyne, PA.
What Is Missing Bail in Pennsylvania?
Jumping bail is also called skipping bail or missing bail. This is a serious crime. Skipping bail in Pennsylvania means you did not show up in court and also failed to surrender yourself to the authorities 20 days after the bond was given up.
So if you missed your court date, forfeited your bail, and still fail to surrender after 20 days, you will be rearrested and be taken to jail for skipping bail. It is a separate crime from what you were previously accused of. This means skipping bail will be another charge added to your initial charge.
Proving Bail Skipping
To prove bail jumping in Pennsylvania, the following elements are required:
- The defendant qualified for bail according to an issues court order
- The defendant failed to appear in the necessary court jurisdiction as expected
- The defendant acted knowingly and willfully
What’s The Punishment for Missing Bail in PA?
One of the first actions the court will take against you is issuing an arrest warrant. And unfortunately, if you get rearrested, you won’t get the privilege of posting bail again. Meaning you will be kept in jail until the judge finds the time to address the issue when all parties are present.
Contempt of Court and Additional Charges
The court can hold you in contempt of court for disobeying a court order. The individual may also face additional criminal charges called default in required appearance. You will need a Lemoyne bail attorney to help you in your defense case.
A pretrial release always comes with conditions like paying 10 percent of the total bail amount. You can either pay this to the court or a bail bonds agency. If you fail to appear, you will lose the 10 percent and be forced to pay the full bail amount.
If you used a bail bond agent to get you released from a Pennsylvania jail and you skipped bail, it’s like defaulting on a loan. The bail bond agency will come for their money in one way or the other through items like a car or mortgage that you used to secure your bail.
How Can I Defend Myself Against Bail Jumping?
Since one of the requirements to be guilty of skipping bail is acting willfully and knowingly, a good defense would be showing that the circumstances were unavoidable and unintentional. For instance, if you got incapacitated, you may be excused from bail skipping charges in Lemoyne, PA.
Valid Reasons Acceptable in A Bail Jumping Defense
Saying you were sick may not be sufficiently accepted as a valid reason for not showing up in court unless you were hospitalized. Being jailed in another jurisdiction may also not be ruled in your favor. Once you show you were a victim of circumstances in some situations, you might just be off the hook. Some of these reasons include:
- Sick child
- Heart attack
- Car accident
- Death of a loved one
It’s also advisable to show any supporting documentation to prove further your reason for skipping bail in Pennsylvania. An experienced Lemoyne bail attorney won’t advise you on having a witness testimony without supporting evidence.
The court may finally agree to drop the charges against you from skipping bail if you sufficiently show that the circumstances were beyond your control.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Defend Me?
After failing to appear in court, it is always a wise idea to get in touch with a Lemoyne criminal defense attorney. An experienced legal counsel can answer your questions and help you avoid additional charges against you.
Some rare cases can have your seasoned bail attorney in Lemoyne, PA, negotiate your failure to appear case without being taken into custody. While this is not a guaranteed outcome, it can only be pursued by a seasoned and respected defense lawyer.
Aggressive Legal Defense Counsel in Lemoyne, PA
Mistakes can happen from time to time. But even an honest mistake in skipping bail and failing to appear can have grave repercussions. You may be facing additional criminal charges if you don’t defend yourself. If you just skipped bail and missed your court date in Pennsylvania, take action immediately. The sooner you move, the better the chances will be for you.
The first step is speaking to a knowledgeable attorney who can advise you on your best course of action and whether you should surrender to the authorities. Attorney R. Davis Younts is an experienced defense counsel, a former prosecutor, and renewed military defense lawyer in the U.S. Schedule a FREE consultation with us today to discover the additional options at your disposal.