In New Jersey, when a person has been arrested and charged with a crime, depending on its seriousness, he or she may be allowed to post bail to leave jail until their next scheduled court appearance. In some cases, the person is released on his or her own recognizance without posting bail money. If the individual does not appear and the court believes that the person is willfully ignoring the court date, the next step is a possible charge of bail jumping. This is especially true if the defendant leaves the jurisdiction.
If the judge determines that the person has committed bail jumping, the court has the ability to issue a warrant for the individual's arrest, adding to the charges that were already in play with the initial arrest. The degree of the crime of bail jumping is dependent on the type of crime for which the person was charged. If it was a first, second or third degree crime that led to the arrest, then the charge of bail jumping will be a third degree charge if the individual fails to show up to the scheduled court date. The bail jumping constitutes a fourth degree crime, disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense, respectively, when the required appearance was to answer a charge of such an offense.
What are the Elements of Bail Jumping in NJ?
Under the New Jersey bail jumping statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-7, to be convicted of bail jumping, the following must be established:
- The defendant had been released from being incarcerated after the issuance of a summons or the filing of a complaint;
- The defendant was released from jail under the court ordered condition that he or she appear on the designated date to face the charge;
- The defendant did not appear in court at the scheduled time; and
- There was no lawful reason for the defendant not to appear.
Being released from jail does not mean that the charges are gone. The situation has to be dealt with. If the court allows a person to leave jail after an arrest, there is a legal agreement that the defendant will return on the date scheduled to continue processing the case. The defendant must show up or have a good excuse for not showing up.
What are the Penalties for Bail Jumping?
The key is whether or not the person had a reason for not arriving on the date he or she was supposed to be in court. If there was a viable excuse for not being there, it's possible that the court will show some understanding. If the defendant was hospitalized, for example, there's a trail of evidence that can be followed to see that the person was being truthful and didn't intentionally not show up in court to avoid the charges.
The penalties for bail jumping vary and can be costly. If a person is convicted of bail jumping, he or she could face jail time, substantial fines, and as much as five years of supervised probation.
Contact an Attorney About Your Bail Jumping Charges
If you have been arrested of a crime and missed a scheduled court date, you run the risk of being charged with bail jumping. While being arrested and having to face the consequences of that arrest can be intimidating, ignoring the problem isn't going to make it go away. In fact, it's only going to make it worse. That's why, if you have been arrested and may have made the mistake of bail jumping, you should contact the lawyers of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey to discuss your case.
When charged with a crime in New Jersey, you need proper legal representation. If you or a loved one are confronted with a charge of bail jumping in Ocean County or Monmouth County, contact the experienced lawyers at Villani & DeLuca to discuss your case. There may be a possibility that the charges can be reduced, or a viable explanation can even warrant the dismissal of a bail jumping charge. Call Villani & DeLuca today for your free consultation.