Anytime you have been ordered to appear in Court and you do not, you can be charged with failure to appear or bail jumping. Your failure to appear may have been due to what you believe is a legitimate reason. When dealing with the Courts in Georgia, it helps to have a knowledgeable attorney on your case. Call us for a consultation today.
Whether you are charged with failure to appear or bail jumping depends on the original offense you are being charged with.
Georgia Failure to Appear Penalties
If your original charge was a misdemeanor, there is a chance that your failure to appear could only result in forfeiture of your bond. If you paid a bond and were released but failed to return to court on the predetermined date, the Court will enter a guilty plea and you will forfeit your bond.
Bail jumping can be a far more serious offense. At your arraignment or later court date, the judge either set bail or ordered your release on the promise that you would return. Your failure to return to court as guaranteed could result in the bail jumping charge.
(Bail and release on recognizance are seen as guarantees that you will return to court on the appointed date and time)
The potential consequences are dependent on the original charge.
Felony Bail Jumping
If the original charge is a felony and you were notified either in court or by mail of the court date you could be charged with felony bail jumping.
Felony bail jumping is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and 1to 5 years in prison.
Misdemeanor Bail Jumping
If the original charge is a misdemeanor and you didn’t show up for your court date as notified, you can be charged with misdemeanor bail jumping.
Misdemeanor bail jumping is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year in prison.
Out-of-State Bail Jumping
If your original charge is a misdemeanor listed below and you leave the state to avoid your court date, you can be charged with out-of-state bail jumping. This offense only applies to the following misdemeanors:
If you are charged with out of state bail jumping, you face felony charges and a potential sentence including one to five years in prison and fines of $1,000 to $5,000.
**With all bail jumping charges, your license may be revoked and the judge may enter a bench warrant calling for your immediate arrest.
Are There Legitimate Excuses and Defenses for Failing to Appear in Court?
Yes, the Court does recognize some legitimate reasons for failure to appear. For more information on whether your reason for missing court is allowable or defendable, contact us for a consultation.