What Happens if You Skip Bail?

Possible consequences of skipping bail include immediate arrest.

In most cases, if you skip bail, the court issues a bench warrant, which is basically an arrest warrant on steroids. Bench warrants combine court orders and standard arrest warrants. During a traffic stop or other detention, officers usually have some discretion to serve arrest warrants, especially if another jurisdiction issued the warrant. However, most law enforcement agencies have mandatory bench warrant service policies. If such a warrant pops up, the defendant goes to jail.

Bench warrants have short and long-term consequences. In the short term, pretrial detention significantly reduces the chances for a Norcross criminal defense lawyer to present a strong defense. Frequently, bench warrants include cash bond requirements, making it difficult to secure release. Over the long term, the statute of limitations does not apply to bench warrants. Once issued, the warrant is active until served. Many people are arrested for bench warrants when they try to renew their driver’s licenses several years later. They go to the DMV, but they do not go home.

Common Bail Conditions

“Skipping bail” could mean failure to appear at trial or at a mandatory pretrial procedural or other hearing. Some judges require defendants to appear at all such hearings, while others do not have such a rule.

Additionally, most bail agreements have many technical requirements. Skipping bail could mean failure to fulfill such a requirement, like:

Most bonding companies, as well as the sheriff’s office, require all defendants to agree to the same conditions. When they are in jail, most people are so anxious to get out that they will sign anything, usually without reading it.

A Norcross criminal defense lawyer often gets ahead of the skipping bail problem by modifying the conditions of bail.

For example, if Terry lives in Gwinnett County and works in Forsyth County, he technically skips bail every weekday morning. A simple attorney-driven change, like remaining in Gwinnett County and contiguous counties, solves this problem.

Addressing Violations

Usually, if the defendant committed a technical violation, an attorney asks a judge to give the defendant a second chance. Most judges are willing to do so, especially if it is the first condition violation.

If the defendant does not appear at a required court hearing, the court might reschedule the hearing if the defendant has committed no prior infractions, and an attorney asks quickly. Bench warrants are almost impossible to recall, but a fast request might prevent the judge from issuing the warrant.

If the court refuses to reschedule the hearing, attorneys usually arrange for voluntary surrender (a/k/a book-in and book-out). This process usually takes a couple of hours, and if alternative bail arrangements have been made, the defendant then goes free.

Count on a Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Attorney

Bail skippers have legal options. For a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Norcross, contact Zimmerman & Associates, Attorneys at Law.