The appearance of the defendant in all court proceedings is probably the most critical condition if he has been released on bail. However, by failing to show up in court doesn’t merely mean forfeiture of the bond but it also constitutes more serious legal consequences.
Before thinking of jumping bail, the person needs to be aware of the possible legal and financial results of this action. But first, let’s define what bail “jumping” is.
What is Bail Jumping?
It is one form of violation in bail conditions, which is a mandatory appearance in all court proceedings. Once a defendant is released on bail and fails to appear in court with the intent to avoid trial, possible conviction, and sentence, it is considered bail jumping or bail skipping.
What Should You Do If You Miss the Court Date?
The defendant will be facing a bail jumping charge only if he fails to surrender within a specified period after forfeiting bond. Typically, the offender has 30 days to legally inform the court and the bail bond agency before he will be charged with bail jumping. When you miss a court date, you must do these things:
- The defendant needs to secure the “consent of surety” from the bail bondsman in Denver. Kindly submit it to the court clerk and ask for a new court date.
- If the accused person didn’t post bail through a bail bonds agency in Denver, he needs to immediately go to the court clerk to ensure a new court date.
What Are the “Bond Conditions” In Colorado?
Attending court proceedings is just one of the bail conditions which the defendant needs to adhere to. Some of the other conditions that the defendant must meet are the following:
- Other standard conditions that forbid the accused person from committing a crime or leaving the State of Colorado while released on bail.
- The accused person must agree on the mandatory restraining order that prohibits any contact with witnesses or alleged victims.
- The defendant is required to immediately notify the court or the bail bond agency about any essential changes, such as the defendant’s residence.
What Constitutes Bail Jumping in Denver, Colorado?
The Colorado law defines bail conditions violation as failure to appear for trial or other proceedings committed by the defendant, or breach of contract with the bail bond agency. In other words, it is considered bail jumping if the defendant committed these two acts:
- Defying a court order. Not following a court order is a serious offense. In Colorado, there is such as “Failure to Appear Law”wherein the court can file a contempt of court charge and issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest. The court can also tack on additional legal charges depending on the defendant’s prior convictions, prior court appearances, nature of the charges, and stability in the community.
- Breach of contract with the bail bond agency. If the defendant posts bail through a bail bondsman in Denver, he is bound to certain agreements with the agency. Aside from following the orders of the court, he also needs to report to the agency, especially if there are significant changes happening to the defendant.
Legal Excuses for Failure to Appear in Court
Like any other criminal charge, a bail jumping offense needs to go to trial. The prosecutor has to prove that the defendant failed to show up in court intentionally. To do this, the offender must be proven guilty without reasonable doubt that he:
- was charged with a crime
- has been released by the court with or without bail, or issued a summon
- had a clear awareness of his obligation to show up at the next court date
- failed to appear intentionally without lawful excuse
So, to defeat the bail jumping charge, the defendant must provide proof of his valid reasons. Some of the legal reasons that might be accepted by the court are:
- Failure to receive proper notice of the court date. Adequate notice may involve mailing the letter to the accused, or through the bond.
- Missed court appearances because of circumstances outside the defendant’s control or due to force majeure.
- Due to severe illness that needs hospitalization
- Being incarcerated in a different state
Consequences of Bail Jumping
If the defendant hired a 24-hour bail bonds company to post bail, the consequences of bail jumping affect not just the defendant, but also the co-signer, and the bail bond agency.
- The Defendant. Aside from the pending charges, he will be facing additional criminal charges and will be issued a warrant of arrest. The court might increase the next bail amount or even deny bail altogether once the accused is re-arrested.
- Co-signer. Typically, the 24-hour bail bonds company requires a co-signer that acts as a financial guarantor for the defendant. And once the accused person skips or jumps bail, the bail will be forfeited. Depending on the way the posted bail, the co-signer will either forfeit the cash, lose the collateral, or will be held responsible for paying for the bail amount as per the contract.
- Bail Bondsman. They are also accountable for the disappearance of their clients since they represent the defendant in court, which is why bail bonds agencies in Denver often hire bounty hunters to locate the defendant and surrender him to court.
Penalties of Bail Jumping in Denver, Colorado
The penalties for the violation of bail condition in Denver Colorado depends on the underlying original charge. Its punishment will be added to any current penalties that come from the original criminal charges.
- Misdemeanor Bail Jumping. If the defendant were charged with a misdemeanor offense and failed to appear in court, he would be charged with Class 3 misdemeanorbail jumping in Colorado. Once convicted, the defendant will be facing up to 6 months of jail time and fines between $50 to $750.
- Felony Bail Jumping. Meanwhile, if the accused individual was charged for felony crime and missed a court appearance, he will be charged with aclass 6 felony bail jumping. A class 6 felony in the State of Colorado is punishable by at least one year to up to eighteen months of jail time. The fines range anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000.