The main requirement associated with bonding out of jail early is the promise the defendant makes to appear at all scheduled court appearances. It is the most important element of the entire agreement. By attending their court hearing, defendants are making a statement that they understand their charges and are willing to take responsibility for their actions. The majority of defendants appear on time and take care of their responsibilities according to the bail bond agreement and the courts. There are others, however, who miss court either by accident or because they are trying to avoid prosecution.
The Penalties for Skipping Bail
The penalties for skipping bail can be severe. If a defendant does not show up for court, the judge will issue a bench warrant for their arrest and essentially revoke their bond. In Virginia, the courts will give the bail bond agency 60 days to either return the defendant to the jail or pay the full bond amount. If the defendant is not returned to the jail, the bail bonds agency will pay off the bond and then turn to collect the amount owed from the co-signer who has agreed to be financially responsible. If the defendant is returned, one of two things may happen. The defendant will remain in jail until their scheduled court date, or if it can be proven that missing court was unintentional, they may be allowed to reinstate or have their bond rewritten for a higher amount.
It is important to remember that a bail bond does not just go away. Even if the bond gets paid off, the defendant will still be wanted by the law. In Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, a defendant that has avoided prosecution by skipping bail is considered to be a fugitive. If the defendant is recovered and returned to the jail after the 60 days allowed by the court, the defendant will be remanded to the jail where they will stay until their court date. They will not be allowed to bond out. This behavior may also affect future arrests and their ability to bond out if one occurs.
Accidents do happen. If an individual misses court on purpose, there is not much the bail bonds agency can do to help them out. When a defendant can prove their indiscretion was unintentional, the court may offer leniency and allow them to have their bond rewritten or reinstated. Being able to prove admission to a hospital, auto accident or other extenuating circumstance is extremely beneficial and will provide weight when pleading for leniency. As soon as defendant realizes they have missed their court date, they should immediately call the courts and their bail bond agent and let them know the situation. The bail bond agent will also be able to communicate with the court that they have spoken with the defendant. The court may choose to rescind the warrant and reset the court date or allow the defendant to turn themselves in and have their bond reinstated.
A bond reinstatement is considered if the defendant has no previous criminal history and has remained in compliance with the terms of their bail bond up until that point. If the court determines that missing court was an oversight and not intentional, they may give the defendant the opportunity to have their bond rewritten at a higher amount or simply reinstate their original bond. It is extremely important for the defendant to remain in constant contact with their bail bonds agent and the court. This includes reporting any changes in their personal information, such as change of address or place of employment. Keeping the courts and bail bond agency abreast of all changes shows an interest in taking responsibility for their actions. By being upfront and honest with the court on all levels, the judge or magistrate will be more understanding than if the defendant did not follow through on their obligations. In Virginia, the defendant will deal with either a magistrate or a judge. Both have the ability to determine and revoke a person's bail bond.
Observing the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia is extremely important. When an indiscretion occurs, attending all scheduled court hearings and meeting all of the requirements that have been put in place by the court are essential parts of the process. At County Bail Bonds in Fairfax, Virginia, our agents understand the laws of the tri-state area and are more than willing to help each of their clients make it through the legal process without any indiscretions or mistakes. We understand that accidents happen, that is why we are there to help you resolve any issues you may have with the process. From start to finish, we will always be in your corner. Call 703-879-8115 and find out how we can help you!