Almost no one enjoys going to court. If you are out on bail in a criminal matter, however, going to court when you are required to do so is never an optional undertaking.
A missed court date is something you do not want to take lightly. In Ohio, failing to appear in court or known as jumping bail is a crime that can worsen your legal problems in a number of ways. These are some of the things that can happen if you jump bail.
The judge will issue a bench warrant against you
A judge will almost immediately issue a bench warrant against you if you miss court. A bench warrant is similar to a traditional arrest warrant and it allows law enforcement to arrest and hold you in jail possibly for the remainder of your trial period.
There will be changes to your bond
By jumping bail, you will most often forfeit your bond money. This means that you will owe your bail bond company money or you won’t recoup the money that you put up out of your own savings.
Potential defenses for jumping bail
You might have valid reasons for missing court. Of course, it is not up to you to decide what is valid and what is not – that is the judge’s decision to make. With that said, here are a few instances when a judge might excuse your absence from court:
- A sickness (your own that requires emergency hospitalization or someone close that requires your attention)
- The death of someone close to you
- Any other valid emergency situation
You can, however, not cite lack of transportation or heavy traffic as the reasons for missing court.
Protecting your rights
There is no denying that the court can be a very intimidating place. However, learning more about your legal options can help you and your attorney to protect your rights if you are charged with missing your court date.