What Is the Penalty for Skipping Bail in Utah?
When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, they are often held in jail while awaiting trial. However, trials can take a long time, and courts do not like to hold defendants in jail who have not been convicted of doing anything wrong. Bail allows defendants awaiting trial to be released on certain conditions under the promise that they will return for all future court hearings. Defendants who fail to return, known as skipping bail, will face legal consequences in addition to those for their initial charges.
Skipping bail comes with a whole host of legal penalties. First, a judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest if you fail to appear for court. This means that when you next encounter the police, they will arrest you and bring you back to court. The judge must then decide whether you should be re-released or if your bail should be revoked. You may also face additional penalties for the act of skipping bail. The nature of these charges will depend on the nature of your underlying charges.
Skipping bail is a bad idea, and defendants should make great efforts to show up for all their court appearances. However, sometimes last-minute emergencies come up, and defendants end up unintentionally skipping bail. Whatever your situation may be, call our Utah criminal defense attorneys for help. Call (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free legal consultation with the team at Overson Law, PLLC.
Consequences of Skipping Bail in Utah
Skipping bail is a big deal. It is far more serious than simply rescheduling a court hearing. Skipping bail is when a defendant released on bail fails to return to court as promised. The proceedings against them cannot continue in their absence, and their entire trial comes to a grinding halt. Courts also hate it when defendants undermine their authority and defy court orders.
The penalties for skipping bail include possibly having your bail revoked and spending the rest of your trial in a jail cell. You will also face additional criminal charges for skipping bail. The more serious your initial charges were, the more serious your charges for skipping bail will be. You may also have to deal with a bench warrant issued for your arrest.
After skipping bail, your charges and trial do not just disappear. The police will find you and arrest you for skipping bail. You will have to reschedule your missed court dates and face any other consequences the court imposes. Our West Valley City criminal defense attorneys can help you get back on track.
How Does Bail Skipping Work in Utah?
Bail is determined by a judge fairly early in the criminal justice process. Bail allows defendants to go home and await trial rather than sitting in a jail cell. Trials can be somewhat unpredictable, and they often take much longer than originally planned. A defendant not released on bail must spend all that time behind bars before ever being convicted.
Bail is based on multiple factors, including the severity of the charges and the defendant’s criminal history. Defendants with strong ties to their communities who are not flight risks nor threats to safety will likely be released on bail. This trust flies out the window when defendants fail to show up for court.
The consequences for skipping bail are great, and the court will show little mercy to the defendant. Not only will you face new charges and a bench warrant, but you must deal with the ire of the judge. Courts hate when defendants skip bail because it undermines their authority and makes it difficult to continue with the hearings. If you skipped bail, contact our Utah bail skipping defense lawyers for help.
Penalties for Skipping Bail in Utah
After you have skipped bail, any money you paid will be forfeited. If you were released under a cash bail system, you must pay a certain sum of money to be released. The idea is that defendants who show up to court will have that money returned to them, but those who skip bail will forfeit the money. This incentivizes people to return for their hearings.
The judge from the hearing you missed will also enter a bench warrant for your arrest. This warrant allows the police to arrest you and take you back to court. You could be arrested anywhere you encounter the police. Even a routine traffic stop may result in an arrest if there is a bench warrant out for you.
Some defendants may have been granted bail under bail reform laws in Utah that do not involve cash. Even if you did not pay any money as part of your bail, you still risk having your bail revoked. If your bail is revoked, you will have to await your trial from jail, which could take weeks or even months.
You must also deal with new criminal charges for skipping bail. Your charges are based on the initial charges for which you were on bail in the first place. According to Utah Criminal Code § 76-8-312, skipping bail is charged as a third-degree felony if your original charges were felonies. Likewise, skipping bail is charged as a misdemeanor for misdemeanor charges and as an infraction for infraction cases.
Once you have skipped bail, you may be perceived as a flight risk when the judge decides whether to release you again. Additionally, if you are ever arrested in the future, a judge might be less inclined to grant bail because you have skipped bail previously. Our Ogden criminal defense lawyers can help.
What to Do After Skipping Bail in Utah
After skipping bail, it is important to contact an attorney. Out Utah bail skipping attorneys will work to get your trial back on track and minimize the damage as much as possible. It might be possible to clear any bench warrants by contacting the court and agreeing to a new court date. If you have a reasonable excuse as to why you failed to appear, the court might be understanding.
It might also be necessary to turn yourself in to the police to clear the bench warrant. The court might not trust you to return on your own and refuse to lift the bench warrant. In that case, the only way to clear it would be to turn yourself in.
Once you are back in court, we must figure out whether you can be re-released on new bail. Defendants with less serious charges who have legitimate reasons why they skipped, like a medical emergency, are more likely to be granted bail again. However, we must prepare for the harsh reality that you might have to await your trial from jail. Our Logan criminal defense attorneys will hopefully get you released and home to your family.
Reach Out to Our Utah Bail Skipping Defense Lawyers
If you skipped bail and are now facing a bench warrant and new criminal charges, contact our Utah bail skipping lawyers. Call (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free legal consultation with the dedicated and compassionate staff at Overson Law, PLLC.