Bail Jumping Defense Attorney
If you are charged with a crime in Massachusetts and released on bail – or on your own recognizance – one of the conditions of your release is the requirement to appear at your future court appearances in the case. In fact, when you are arraigned, the clerk magistrate or judge usually reads you a “bail warning,” explaining that you can be held up to 90 days without bail if you get re-arrested or fail to show up for court. That is called a bail revocation. But they don’t always explain that failing to show up for court is a separate crime: bail jumping.
The prosecutor has to prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you of bail jumping. First, that you were released on bail or personal recognizance by a judge or clerk magistrate. Second, that you were aware of your court date and time. And third, that you failed to appear in court as required.
Bail Jumping Penalties
Judges often get very angry when people fail to appear in court as scheduled. The penalties are quite high if you are convicted. If the underlying charge is a misdemeanor, you can receive up to a year in jail. If the underlying charge is a felony, you face up to five additional years in prison for the bail jumping. With the stakes so high, you need a top Massachusetts criminal defense attorney to give you the best shot at keeping your freedom. We can help.
Defenses to Bail Jumping
Sometimes a good defense is that you weren’t aware of the court date. Another possible defense is that you had a sufficient excuse for failing to appear. An accident or illness might be a sufficient excuse, for example. Every case is different and requires a thorough evaluation of the evidence by a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney before determining the best course of action in defending your case.
If you are facing bail jumping charges, contact us today for a free, confidential telephone consultation at (781) 797-0555.