Breach of Bail
Breach of bail can have serious consequences. After all, bail is not a promise of freedom; it’s a legal middle ground between freedom and responsibility. In other words, it provides you with freedom so long as you adhere to certain conditions. This prevents unjust detention, protecting your fundamental rights and dignity.
However, failure to maintain your own part of the bargain may trigger legal consequences such as arrest and forfeiture of your bail money.
The purpose of this article is to help you understand the implications of breach of bail to make informed decisions about your actions while your case is pending. If you are unsure of what breaching your bail entails, you can contact one of our professional bail agents at Connecticut Bail Bonds Group.
What does “Breach of Bail? Mean”
A breach of bail conditions refers to the act of violating the rules or requirements set by the court when an individual is released on bail. Bail is a system that allows an accused person to be released from custody, typically under certain stipulated conditions, until their trial begins. These conditions might include restrictions on travel, requirements to report to a police station at certain times, or prohibitions against contacting certain individuals.
If the individual fails to adhere to these conditions, it is considered a breach of bail. Examples can include leaving the state when ordered to remain within its borders, failing to appear in court at the specified time, or contacting someone they were ordered to avoid. Breaching bail conditions can result in serious consequences, such as revocation of bail, additional charges, and potentially a return to custody until the trial date.
Legal Implications of Breaching Bail
Breach of bail does not help your case. Instead, it can cause severe legal consequences which may include:
1. Arrest and Revocation of Granted Bail
The immediate response of the court upon the evidence of your breach of bail is to issue a bench warrant for your arrest and put you back into custody until your next court appearance to address the breach.
Depending on the evidence and how severe the breach is, the court may consider you a flight risk or danger to the public. At this point, your right to bail would no longer be recognized. This is known as the revocation of bail.
2. Harsher Restrictions
In some cases, the magistrate may not revoke your granted bail but impose stricter conditions to ensure compliance. For example, if you violate the contract restrictions, the court may impose an electronic monitoring condition or a curfew. Failure to comply with the additional conditions regarding the electronic monitoring condition and other such restrictions may lead to revocation of bail.
3. Forfeiture of Bail Money
The court may confiscate the money or asset you surrendered as collateral in response to your bail breach. This leads to loss of assets and other financial consequences.
4. Additional Charges
In some cases, breaching granted bail may lead to additional charges depending on the specific bail conditions and the circumstances surrounding the case. For example, failure to appear in court may be considered a contempt of court. Again, if you commit a new offense while on bail, you’ll be charged separately for that offense.
5. Negative Impact on the Original Charges
Breach of bail can influence the attitude of the court towards your case. The judge may believe you have no regard for the court order and therefore are unwilling to cooperate with the legal process. This could become an aggravating factor, leading to longer and harsher sentences.
The consequences of bail breach can vary based on jurisdiction in the United States. For example;
In California, jumping bail on a misdemeanor charge is considered an additional misdemeanor and attracts a fine of $1,000 and six months in jail.
Also, jumping bail on a felony charge can attract 16 months imprisonment, a fine of $10,000, or both.
In Massachusetts, failure to appear in court while on granted bail for a misdemeanor charge is punishable by a fine of $10,000, a year in prison, or both.
For a felony case, you may pay a fine of $50,000, face up to 5 years in prison, or both.
In the federal jurisdiction, if you fail to appear in court for a misdemeanor charge while on police bail, you could face a penalty of one year in prison.
For a felony case, you could face up to 2 years in prison. However, if the charge carries a penalty of 15 or more years in prison, you could face 10 years for jumping bail.
Again, you could face a maximum of five years in prison if you fail to appear in court for a charge that carries 5 years imprisonment.
How to Avoid Breaching Bail Conditions
Complying with some terms and conditions of bail can be hard, especially during situational changes such as poor health conditions and emergencies. Here are some steps to help you stay compliant:
Understand the Conditions of Your Bail
Understand what your bail entails. Be clear on what you should and should not do, where you can and cannot go, who you can and cannot contact, and how frequently you should report to the police station or the bondsman.
If you have questions or find any of the conditions unclear, ask your attorney for clarification as they have a better understanding of legal terms and are willing to assist you in ensuring compliance.
Listen to Your Attorney
Keep proper communication with your attorney during your court hearing to help them represent you effectively and avoid unintentional breaches. If you need guidance on how to proceed with your bail, especially during certain developments or changes, consult with your attorney.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Prepare for each court date by setting reminders in advance, keeping the court date in a diary or calendar, and making necessary provisions for potential emergencies.
Attend Court at the Scheduled Court Date
Attend all court schedules including your arraignment, pre-trial, and trials. Failure to do so would result in the issuance of a bench warrant for your arrest and possible bail revocation.
Avoid Illegal Activities
Committing a fresh misdemeanor or crime while on bail can lead to bail revocation andaggravate your sentence or lead to additional charges. Learn to be careful with your choices and behaviors both online and offline because they can be used against you during your trial.
Report Changes or Emergencies
Communicate every emergency and circumstantial change to your attorney or the court if possible. Such changes include health issues, accidents, change of employment status, family emergencies, or any development that impact your ability to meet your bail terms.
The Role of Bail Bonds Agencies
A bail bond agency is an organization that helps an individual secure bail by providing a bail bond on behalf of the individual. If you don’t want to remain in custody but cannot pay the bail amount in full, you may contact the bail bond agency.
The agency will assess your case, and determine if they should post the bail bond on your behalf. If the agency agrees, you would pay a percentage of the bail amount, which is non-refundable, and other relevant fees. Use the Connecticut bail bond calculator to know how much your bail bond would cost.
Also, you would surrender an asset as collateral to cover the bail amount should you fail to appear in court. Once you’ve paid the fee and released collateral, the agency issues a bail bond to the court and the court releases you from custody.
Violating bail conditions attracts negative legal consequences such as forfeiture of bail money, possible bail revocation, aggravation, and additions to your original charges. To avoid these harsh consequences and ensure a fair trial, it’s imperative to adhere to bail conditions.
Do you need help with bail conditions? Connecticut Bail Bonds is here for you. Contact us for a free consultation and let us guide you towards your freedom and peace of mind.
Failure to Appear in Court
If this is the case, you can be arrested on a failure to appear charges, as this is a crime that is taken seriously by Judges. Remember that even just forgetting about your court date is enough for you to be charged with failure to appear in court. Forgetting your court date is not a valid excuse to not be in court so make sure that you remember when and where you are asked to appear! One other way that you can be in breach of your bail agreement is if it comes to light that you lied about information related to your bail. For example, if you use money that you obtained illegally for your bail, or if you gave false information that was used in relation to your bail, you will breach your bail agreement.
What To Do if You Breach Bail
So, what would happen if you did breach your bail agreement? If you find that you’ve unintentionally breached your bail conditions or you’re facing a situation where a breach may be unavoidable, here are some steps to take:
Contact Your Attorney: The first step should always be to reach out to your legal representative. Your attorney can provide advice tailored to your specific situation and jurisdiction. They can help you understand the potential consequences and work with you to develop the best course of action.
Report to the Police or Court: If your breach is unavoidable or has already occurred, it may be advisable to report to the police or the court directly, especially if the breach was unintentional. Honesty can work in your favor in these situations. Consult with your attorney to determine the best course of action.
Gather Evidence: If the breach was due to circumstances beyond your control, gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This could include documentation, photographs, medical records, or witness statements. This evidence can be useful if you have to explain the situation in court.
Comply with Additional Instructions: If you have breached your bail conditions, the court may issue additional instructions or change the conditions of your bail. Ensure that you fully understand and comply with these new terms to avoid further legal trouble.
Prepare for Court: If your breach leads to a court hearing, prepare thoroughly with your attorney. Be ready to explain why the breach occurred and what measures you have taken to ensure it won’t happen again.
Be Proactive: If you believe you might breach a condition of your bail in the future due to a change in circumstances, reach out to your attorney immediately. They can help you petition the court to change the bail conditions before a breach occurs.
Remember, the purpose of bail conditions is to ensure your attendance at future court dates and to protect the community. Any breach is taken seriously by the courts. If you find yourself in a situation where a breach may happen or has happened, seek legal counsel immediately to protect your rights and minimize potential consequences.
Your Trusted Bail Resource in CT
If you realize that you have breached your bail agreement, it is in your best interest to turn yourself in. If you simply made a mistake and turn yourself in, this will show good character to the Judge and will increase your chances of having your bail reset. For more advice on how to deal with a breach of bail, or if you are looking for a bail bondsman in Harford you can contact Connecticut Bail Bonds.