Skipping Bail in Texas: A Risky Move With Serious Outcomes

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team

 

 

 

 

Bail is a legal procedure enabling individuals arrested and charged with a crime to be released from custody until their trial.

Typically, a judge determines the bail amount based on factors such as the severity of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and the risk of flight or danger to the community. Payment of bail can be made in cash, through a bail bond agent, or by pledging property as collateral.

However, some defendants may opt to evade bail, failing to appear in court as required or violating release conditions. This decision carries significant repercussions for both the defendant and those who assisted in posting bail. Here are the consequences of skipping bail in Texas:

Warrant for Arrest

Skipping bail results in the issuance of an arrest warrant by the court, allowing law enforcement officers to apprehend the defendant at any time and place.

The warrant becomes part of the defendant’s criminal record, potentially affecting their employment, housing, and other opportunities. It remains active until the defendant is apprehended or voluntarily surrenders.

Forfeiture of Bail

Skipping bail leads to the forfeiture of the money or property posted as bail. If cash was paid, the entire amount is retained by the court.

In the case of bail bond agents, they must pay the full bail amount to the court and then seek reimbursement from the defendant or co-signer. Pledged property is seized and sold by the court to cover the bail amount.

Additional Charges and Penalties

Skipping bail is not only a breach of contract but also a criminal offense in Texas. Depending on the initial charge, it may constitute a misdemeanor or felony, attracting fines, jail time, or both.

For instance, a defendant charged with a misdemeanor may face an additional misdemeanor charge of bail jumping, carrying a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to six months in jail. Felony charges for bail jumping can result in fines of up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison.

Loss of Trust and Reputation

Skipping bail adversely affects personal and professional relationships, eroding trust and credibility. The act signals disrespect for the law, the court, and those who supported the defendant in posting bail.

Consequently, the defendant may lose the trust and support of family, friends, employers, or the community, potentially impacting their reputation and future legal matters.

Conclusion

Skipping bail in Texas is a perilous decision with severe consequences for both the defendant and their supporters. The potential outcomes include arrest warrants, bail forfeiture, additional charges, and damage to trust and reputation.

It is advisable for defendants to adhere to bail terms, appearing in court as scheduled. Any concerns or issues related to bail should be promptly discussed with their attorney or bail bond agent.

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