Skipping Bail in Florida

Bail is a legal mechanism that enables individuals facing criminal charges to be released from custody until their trial. Usually, bail is paid either in cash or through a bail bond company that serves as a guarantor for the defendant. The main goal is to guarantee the defendant’s presence in court and avoid unnecessary detention of individuals considered innocent until proven guilty.

However, some defendants might choose to skip bail, showing their failure to attend scheduled court appearances. This decision poses significant risks for both the defendant and the bail bond company. This article delves into the ramifications of skipping bail, its penalties, and possible legal strategies.

Explaining Bail Jumping

Skipping bail in Florida is considered a criminal offense. According to Florida Statutes Section 843.15, if someone released on bail doesn’t show up, it’s a felony of the third degree for a felony charge or a misdemeanor of the first degree for a misdemeanor charge. Penalties can vary, with misdemeanors carrying up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, while felonies can result in up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

When someone skips bail, they lose the bail money or bond. This loss means that the defendant or the bail bond company gives up the money paid for release. Furthermore, the court has the authority to issue an arrest warrant, which could result in the defendant being held in custody until the case is resolved.

Results of Skipping Bail

Skipping bail has negative consequences for both the defendant, the bail bond company, and co-signers. The bail bond company is accountable for making sure the defendant shows up in court. If the defendant fails to appear, the company may face financial consequences and take legal steps. A bounty hunter could be hired to find and capture the fugitive, possibly resorting to force or deception.

Individuals who act as co-signers for the defendant may face the risk of losing collateral and being subject to legal actions. It is possible to lose property, vehicles, or valuables used to secure the bond, as well as be held responsible for the entire bail amount, interest, and fees.

Skipping bail results in serious consequences for defendants. New charges could impact their sentence for the initial crime. Future bail opportunities could be at risk, reputation and credibility could be harmed, and support from family, friends, or employers could be lost. The danger of being caught by law enforcement or a bounty hunter, which could lead to a violent confrontation, increases the risk.

Also Read: Texas Marijuana Laws in 2024 You Must Need to Know!

Defenses to Skipping Bail

Even though skipping bail is a serious offense, defendants have the right to defend themselves. The prosecution needs to demonstrate a deliberate decision to not appear, requiring intentional and knowledgeable actions. If you have a valid reason for missing court, like a medical emergency or not receiving proper notice, it can be used as a defense. By promptly notifying the court and bail bond company and trying to reschedule the court appearance, this defense is strengthened.

Another defense is available if the defendant was released on their recognizance, which means they are not required to pay bail. Even if you don’t face skipping bail charges, you could still deal with consequences such as warrant issuance and losing pretrial release rights.

Skipping bail can have severe consequences. It is recommended to comply with bail terms and court appearances, and seeking help from a qualified criminal defense attorney is advisable when dealing with charges. Legal advisors can assist defendants in understanding their rights, represent them in court, and negotiate with the prosecution to reduce or avoid the penalties related to skipping bail, ultimately helping to resolve the original case.

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