What Are the Penalties for Jumping Bail in Texas?

Jumping bail is a crime in Texas, and it’s one that can come with additional criminal penalties that may be more significant than a conviction for the original offense might have entailed. It’s important for all defendants to understand what jumping bail is and what its penalties are to avoid inadvertently committing this offense and defend against unfair accusations of bail jumping.

What Is Bail Jumping?

Bail jumping occurs when a defendant who has been released on bail fails to appear in court as required. When a judge grants bail, it basically means the court trusts a defendant to adhere to the conditions of their release, which includes appearing in court for all scheduled hearings and proceedings. Failing to do so, however, constitutes bail jumping.

Penalties for Bail Jumping in Texas

In Texas, the penalties for jumping bail can be severe and can result in both criminal and financial consequences. Here's a more detailed look at what defendants need to know about the potential penalties.

Additional Criminal Charges

In addition to forfeiting the bail bond, the defendant may face additional criminal charges for bail jumping. In Texas, bail jumping is considered a separate offense, and individuals can be charged with bail jumping even if they are ultimately acquitted of the original charges for which they were released on bail.

In Texas, bail jumping may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the original offense. Jumping bail on a misdemeanor charge could mean facing an additional Class A misdemeanor charge, which may be punished with up to a year in jail; jumping bail on a felony charge, however, could incur a third-degree felony charge that’s punishable with 2-10 years in prison.

If the original offense is punishable only by a fine—such as a traffic violation—bail jumping may be charged as a Class C misdemeanor.

Forfeiture of Original Bail Bond

When a defendant jumps bail, the court typically forfeits the bail bond. This means that the bail money or collateral provided to secure the defendant's release is lost. In Texas, bail bond forfeiture can occur if the defendant fails to appear in court as required, and the court may issue a warrant for their arrest.

Increased Bail Amount

If a defendant jumps bail and is subsequently re-arrested, the court may set a higher bail amount for their release. This is often done to ensure that the defendant has a greater incentive to appear in court for future hearings and proceedings.

Revocation of Bail Conditions

In some cases, if a defendant jumps bail, the court may choose to revoke their bail altogether. This means that the defendant will be held in custody pending the resolution of their case instead of being released on bail again.

How Can I Avoid Charges for Bail Jumping?

The best way to avoid criminal charges for bail jumping is to follow through with all of your responsibilities to appear in court while released on bail.

Although that might sound easy, it can sometimes be difficult to know all your obligations to the court. Hiring a private attorney can help you avoid charges for bail jumping because your legal advocate can outline these obligations and ensure you understand them as your case proceeds.

Arrested for a Crime? We Can Help.

If you were arrested for a crime or are currently facing criminal charges, it’s important to have experienced legal assistance on your side. Having a professional on your side means you can worry less about inadvertently jumping bail because your attorney can advise you of your responsibilities to attend court while released on bail. If you are facing additional charges due to bail jumping, an attorney can help you fight for the best possible outcome.

Our legal team at Rodriguez & Gimbert, P.L.L.C. is here to provide the support that people in situations similar to yours need. With our assistance, you can work toward addressing your criminal charges and building a defense that can keep you on the path toward a brighter future.

Learn more about our legal services today by contacting us and requesting an initial consultation.