Penalties for Failing to Appear in Florida
In criminal cases, it’s common procedure for defendants to be released on bail; this allows the individual to remain “free” or at liberty until their case concludes. Once a defendant is released on bail, he or she agrees to appear in court for future hearing.
When a defendant fails to appear in court after he or she has been bailed out of jail, they commit a crime. This is often referred to as “jumping bail” and can result in the forfeiture of the bond (they money paid for bail), and additional criminal charges for bail jumping.
In Florida, bail jumping is criminalized under Section 843.15 of the Florida Statutes, failure of defendant on bail to appear. Suppose you failed to appear in court after you were required to; in this case, you would forfeit or lose any money that you gave or pledged for your release, and:
- If you were released from jail on a felony charge, you would be guilty of a third-degree felony for jumping bail (failing to appear in court).
- If you were released from jail on a misdemeanor charge, you would be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree for failing to appear in court as required.
As a third-degree felony, failing to appear under Sec. 843.15 is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, or by a fine not to exceed $5,000, or by a fine and imprisonment. As a misdemeanor of the first degree, failing to appear is punishable by up to one year in jail, or by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or by a fine and imprisonment.
Did You Fail to Appear in Court?
Have you been accused of failing to appear in court? Depending on the nature of your original offense, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony charges. To protect your future and your freedom, I urge you to contact my West Palm Beach criminal defense firm and schedule a free case evaluation.