Knowing the Risks, Costs and Realities of Skipping Bail

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Knowing the Risks, Costs and Realities of Skipping Bail

risks costs skipping bail

There are a few common terms that you may have heard regarding arrests, jail and release, and one of these that’s typically said in a negative light (with good reason) is “skipping bail.” Taking this action is extremely risky, to say the least, and simply is not recommended for anyone in any situation — and there are several key reasons why.

At Beehive Bail Bonds, we offer 24/7 bail bond services to clients around Utah, and we also advise them on the major risks they’re taking if they skip out on their bail and required hearings. Let’s go over the specifics on what “skipping bail” means, why it’s so problematic, and what the major risks to you and others in your life are if you choose to go this route following an arrest and release.

What is “Skipping” Bail?

For anyone who hasn’t heard this term before, “skipping bail” is when an individual who has been arrested and released on bail fails to show up for their scheduled court appearance. The entire purpose of the bail system is to allow those accused of certain crimes to remain out of jail while they await their day in court, and when someone skips bail, it means they’re essentially breaking the agreement they made with the court.

If you’re facing charges and are released on bail, you will be given a date for your required court appearance. Any failure to show up for this appearance, assuming you did not get the appearance date officially changed by a court employee, will qualify as skipping bail.

More on what skipping bail may result in below.

Is Skipping Bail a Criminal Offense?

Absolutely. In all 50 US states, it is considered a crime to willfully fail to appear for a court hearing after being released on bail. The specific penalties will vary based on the state you’re in as well as the severity of the crime you were accused of in the first place, but they can be quite severe.

There are almost no exceptions to this, outside situations like the one we mentioned above where you actively get the appearance date officially changed. Even if you have a good reason for not being able to make your appearance, like an emergency hospital visit, you still must take action to inform the court ahead of time or else you will be considered a “fugitive from justice.”

What Will Happen When Bail is Skipped

Here’s the timeline of events that will take place if you skip bail and fail to appear for a scheduled court date following an arrest:

  • Warrant issued: Firstly, the court will immediately issue a warrant for your arrest as soon as you fail to appear. This means that law enforcement will be actively looking for you, and if they find you before you turn yourself in, they will arrest you on the spot.
  • Driver’s license suspended: As law enforcement begins to search for you, the court will also take steps to suspend your driver’s license. This is done as an extra incentive for you to turn yourself in, as it will be very difficult for you to get around or travel without a valid license.
  • Bail raised or revoked: If and when you’re caught (and it’s highly likely you will be, usually very quickly), you will be brought back to court and your bail may be raised significantly or even completely revoked. This is done as a way to punish you for breaking the terms of your release, and also to ensure that you show up for any future court appearances.
  • Additional charges: In some cases, depending on the state you’re in and the severity of the crime you were accused of, you may face additional charges for fleeing justice or skipping bail. These come with their own penalties that can range from a few months in jail to years in prison, on top of any other charges and punishments you may be facing.
  • Further bail fees: Even if your bail is raised or revoked, you will still be expected to pay any remaining balance in full. If you put up collateral like a home or vehicle to secure the bail bond in the first place, this may be forfeited as well.

As you can see, there are a host of very real and serious consequences that come with skipping bail.

Can a Bail Bond Agent Help if You Skip Bail?

While bail bond agents are helpful individuals who work with those who have been arrested (or their families) to secure their release, they are bound by the laws of the state they’re working in.

This means that if you do skip bail, your bail bond agent is legally required to notify the court and will likely be actively working with law enforcement to help them find and apprehend you.

This is because, once you’ve skipped bail, you’ve also broken your agreement with the bail bond agent. This means that the bail bond agent is no longer responsible for you appearing in court, and is essentially working against their own interests by continuing to help you.

In some cases, a bail bond agent may be willing to work with you if you’re having difficulty making a court appearance, but this is entirely up to them. If they do agree to help you, it will likely come at an increased cost (on top of any additional fees or charges you may be facing).

The bottom line is this: if you’re considering skipping bail, don’t. The risks and consequences are simply not worth it, no matter how dire your current situation may seem. Work with a bail bond agent to try and come up with a better solution, or simply turn yourself in to the authorities and deal with the consequences head on. It may not be ideal, but it’s certainly better than running from the law.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our bail bond services or programs, speak to our team at Beehive Bail Bonds today.