When a person is arrested for an offense, they may be placed in jail. Because everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty and it can be a while before criminal proceedings for the case begin, being held in custody may be unfair to someone who may not have committed the alleged offense. In some situations, the individual can be released on bail, which is a monetary condition of release. That means, if they pay the court, they do not have to wait in jail until their scheduled appearance.
Being released on bail comes with various conditions that the individual must comply with.
Bail terms can include:
- Placing the person in the custody of an organization that will supervise them
- Restricting travel during the release period
- Prohibiting the possession of weapons
- Prohibiting the person from committing any crime
- Requiring the person to return to court when scheduled
If a person fails to comply with the release terms, they are violating the law and can be charged with bail jumping.
What Is the Purpose of Bail Conditions?
The reasons a judge may set bail release terms include:
- Ensuring the accused appears in court,
- Protecting members of the community from risk of serious bodily harm, or
- Preventing the accused from intimidating witnesses
In some cases, the judge may determine that the risks of releasing the individual are too great, and decide not to grant bail. In others, if the judge decides that the defendant is likely to appear in court after being let out of custody, they may allow the individual to be released on their own recognizance. That means no monetary conditions are set, and the defendant signs a written promise to return to court.
What Are the Consequences of Noncompliance?
As mentioned earlier, when a person is released on bail, they will have various conditions they must abide by. Intentionally failing to comply with those terms can result in a misdemeanor or felony charge.
The level of offense for bail jumping is as follows:
- Class A misdemeanor: If the person was initially charged with a misdemeanor offense. The conviction penalties include imprisonment for up to 6 months and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Class H felony: If the defendant was accused of committing a felony. If they are convicted, they face a prison sentence of up to 6 years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Some situations exist in which a witness may have conditions of bail set upon them. This occurs when that person is considered material for a felony-level offense and it would be difficult to secure their appearance in court with a subpoena. The judge may impose bail to ensure they testify during proceedings.
If a witness jumps bail, they may be charged with a Class I felony. If they are found guilty of this offense, the penalties they face include a prison term of up to 3 years, 6 months and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Schedule a Free Consultation with the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Milwaukee, our attorney is here to provide the legal defense you need. We have over 20 years of experience and have handled a variety of cases. We will fight hard to protect your rights and will seek a favorable result on your behalf.
Get started on your case by calling us at (414) 882-8382 or contacting us online.