24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

Bail Jumping Charges and Penalties in Florida

Bail Jumping Charges and Penalties in Florida

Getting arrested and booked into jail can be a scary and overwhelming experience. Many defendants are given the opportunity to post bail so they can be released from jail while their criminal case is pending. This allows them to continue working and taking care of family responsibilities while exercising their constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

When someone is released on bail in Florida, they are required to appear for all scheduled court dates related to their criminal case. If they fail to appear as required, this is considered “bail jumping” and can lead to additional criminal charges and penalties. Understanding how bail jumping works and the potential consequences is important for anyone out on bail in Florida.

What is Bail Jumping in Florida?

Bail jumping, also known as failure to appear, occurs when a defendant who has been released on bail does not show up for a scheduled court date like an arraignment, pre-trial hearing, or trial. Under Florida statute 843.15, bail jumping is a criminal offense.

Defendants are typically required to appear in court for proceedings related to the original criminal charges. Failing to appear at any required court date after being released constitutes bail jumping.

Some common reasons defendants miss court dates include:

  • Forgetting the date or time
  • Not receiving proper notice
  • Being too sick or injured to attend
  • Travel or work conflicts
  • Fear of going to court

While there may be understandable reasons for missing court, it still amounts to bail jumping under Florida law. The onus is on the defendant out on bail to verify court dates and make appearing in court a priority.

Penalties for Bail Jumping in Florida

The penalties for bail jumping in Florida depend on whether the original criminal charges were misdemeanors or felonies. According to Florida statute 843.15:

  • If the underlying charges are misdemeanors, bail jumping is a first-degree misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
  • If the underlying charges are felonies, bail jumping is a third-degree felony. This is punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

In addition to the criminal penalties for bail jumping, a judge will revoke the defendant’s original bail, meaning they will be taken into custody. Their release will be subject to posting a new, likely higher bail amount.

Defenses to Bail Jumping Charges

There are some defenses that a criminal defense attorney may use to contest bail jumping charges on behalf of a client:

  • No proper notice of hearing date – If the defendant can prove they did not receive proper notice of the court date, it may invalidate the bail jumping charge. However, it’s typically the defendant’s duty to verify dates.
  • Medical emergency – If the defendant can document they missed court due to hospitalization or medical emergency, the charges may be dropped. They would need evidence like doctor’s notes.
  • No willfulness – If external factors like a death in the family, accident, or other unavoidable emergency caused the absence, it may demonstrate it wasn’t willful bail jumping.
  • Lack of criminal intent – The defense may argue the defendant did not act with criminal intent or “mens rea” in missing court. This means there was no intent to avoid prosecution.
  • Statute of limitations expired – In Florida, prosecutors have one year to file misdemeanor bail jumping charges and three years to file felony charges. If they fail to act in time, a statute of limitations defense may apply.
  • Coercion or threat – If the defendant can show they missed court under duress like threat of violence, it could invalidate the charges.
  • Unconstitutional bail terms – If the bail terms were illegal or unconstitutional, it may provide a defense for failing to appear.

Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer argue these defenses gives a defendant the best chance of avoiding a bail jumping conviction.

What Happens After a Bail Jumping Charge?

Once bail jumping charges are filed, the defendant will be arrested and booked into jail under the new charges. They will go before a judge who will address the bail jumping matter first before potentially revoking the original bail.

Outcomes after a bail jumping arrest may include:

  • Immediate release – The judge could drop the bail jumping charges and reinstate original bail.
  • Higher bail set – A new, higher bail amount could be set on both cases before release.
  • Release denied – The judge could deny bail and hold the defendant in custody pending trial.
  • Plea bargain – Defendants may take a plea deal on the bail jumping and/or original charges.
  • Bench warrants – If a defendant misses court after being charged with bail jumping, bench warrants are issued for immediate arrest.
  • Trial – Defendants have the right to trial on bail jumping charges where a jury or judge determines guilt.
  • Conviction and sentencing – If convicted of bail jumping, the penalties and fines discussed earlier apply.

Bail jumping also causes defendants to lose trust and credibility with the court. Judges view missed court dates unfavorably. It’s best to avoid bail jumping altogether by appearing for all court dates.

Avoiding Bail Jumping Charges

Preventing bail jumping charges means carefully following all bail conditions and court date requirements. Strategies to avoid issues include:

  • Verify release conditions – Make sure you know your bail terms like drug testing, ankle monitor rules, etc.
  • Confirm court dates – Double check dates and times for all court appearances when released.
  • Calendar reminders – Put court dates in phones and calendars with advance alerts.
  • Contact information – Give updated contact info to your attorney and court clerk.
  • Travel limits – Don’t travel outside permitted areas without court approval.
  • Attorney advice – Discuss court date obligations with your lawyer.
  • Proof of appearance – Get dated court paperwork after every appearance.
  • Excused absences – If an emergency arises, ask your attorney to excuse your court date in advance.
  • Surrender – If unsure about court dates, surrendering to jail while things are clarified may prevent charges.

While bail jumping should be avoided, if you are charged, don’t panic. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help put together a strong defense to have the charges dropped or reduced. The lawyer may also be able to get bail reinstated so you can fight the case from outside of jail.

Finding a Bail Jumping Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been arrested for bail jumping in Florida, consulting with a criminal defense lawyer is highly recommended. The attorney can build a defense to the charges and represent you in negotiations with the prosecution. This gives you the best chance of avoiding harsh penalties.

When choosing a bail jumping defense lawyer, look for these important qualifications:

  • Extensive criminal trial experience defending bail jumping and failure to appear cases.
  • Strong record getting bail jumping charges reduced or dismissed pre-trial.
  • Knowledge of Florida bail laws and bail jumping defenses.
  • Good relationships with local prosecutors and judges.
  • Affordable legal fees and payment plans.
  • Responsive service and communication skills.
  • Commitment to personalized and aggressive representation.

Don’t leave your defense to chance. Hiring a skilled bail jumping lawyer to represent you can make all the difference in avoiding jail time and getting back to your normal routines. Be proactive in exercising your rights and defending yourself every step of the way.

Schedule Your Consultation Now