If you're scheduled to be seen in court for a criminal charge, but fail to show, several actions are put into motion. If you posted bail or used a bail bond servicing company, additional steps occur. None of these are pleasant and can put you in an embarassing spot in your home or workplace. Here is what you can expect if you miss a hearing date, whether it was intentional or not.
A Warrant For Your Arrest is Issued
A judge will create a bench warrant that authorizes your arrest. This gives local law enforcement, usually the sheriff's department, the authorization to detain you and hold you in jail. Depending on the workload of the sheriff's department, they may spend some time trying to locate you. Or they may simply leave a notice on the door of your house saying that there is a warrant out for your arrest. If you get stopped for a simple traffic violation, the police will arrest you on the spot because of the outstanding warrant.
Posting Bail Makes It More Complicated
If you posted bail to get out of jail while waiting for your hearing, you lose all of the bail money to the court if you don't show up. Not showing up for a hearing, even though you posted bail, is called skipping or jumping bail. Once you have a reputation for skipping bail, judges are less likely to award you bail for future offenses.
Add in a Bail Bond Company For More Drama
If you used a bail bond service to post bail, you'll have even more people looking for you. These companies have people on staff, or they use contracted help, who specialize in locating people who have skipped out on their bail. The bail bond company is highly motivated to find you and bring you to the court before the local law enforcement agencies do. If the sheriff's department finds you first, the bail bond company loses all of the money they posted to the court for you.
Referred to as bounty hunters, skip tracers and bail enforcement agents, these specialist are experienced at finding people who don't want to be found. They won't hesitate to arrest you in front of your friends, family and co-workers. If you skip out on bail which was posted by a service for you, you'll have difficulty finding a bail bond company that will work with you in the future. For more information about how bail bonds work, contact a company like Betty Bail Bonds.
If you post bail and receive a hearing date, make it your top priority to get to the hearing. If you can't, for whatever reason, contact your lawyer or the court and explain the situation. Don't just don't ignore the hearing, as you'll suddenly have a lot of people interested in tracking you down and putting you back in jail with little chance of getting back out on bail.