Bail jumping is a serious offense that can cause a defendant to face a series of legal and financial consequences. And as a bail bondsman, this is absolutely the last thing you want to see happen with one of your clients.
If you’re asking yourself, “What is bail jumping?” or trying to figure out how to stop it from happening at your business follow along. We’ve got you covered!
What is Bail Jumping?
There are two different types of bail jumping charges a person can accrue. The jumping can either be a misdemeanor or felony crime. How a criminal is charged depends on the original cause for arrest.
But what exactly does bail jumping mean? Bail jumping is when someone fails to follow the conditions of their bail. Examples of it are:
- Intentionally missing court appearances
- Failure to notify the court of changes in address
- Committing other crimes with a pending case
Other bail conditions might be applied for a specific type of case. For example, if someone has been accused of a violent crime, they might be instructed to cease contact with the alleged victim. Or in situations like DUI cases where alcohol is involved the defendant might be ordered to not partake while they’re on bond.
A condition for someone who is a flight risk is that they’d have to give up their passports to ensure that they don’t leave the country while awaiting trial. Some factors that determine whether a person is a flight risk are:
An Existing Record of Flight
If a person has already jumped bail or fled, they will always be considered a flight risk.
Community or Family Ties
People who have families that depend on them like children or a sick, elderly parent are less likely to become flight risks. The same goes for their community ties. If they are attached to things like volunteer programs or religious groups they are less likely to leave them behind.
Record of Court Appearances
Does the client have a good or bad track history for showing up for their court appearances? This can tell you a lot about whether they’re a flight risk.
A person who has a full-time job or a career that is meaningful to them probably
isn’t a flight risk.
When defendants have a lot of money, they have access to a lot of resources. If they don’t have any family or community ties on top of that, they are highly likely to jump bail and start a new life.
How to Stop Defendants from Jumping Bail
When you are a bail bond agent, taking a proactive approach to your job can make the difference between someone jumping bail and someone following the rules. While you can never control the actions of another person, we put together a list of things you can do in order to keep your clients from jumping bail.
Build a Relationship
When you establish relationships with your clients, they are more likely to open up to you about their intentions because you’ve earned their trust. Relationship building also makes people hesitate a bit more when they are thinking about doing something wrong like jumping bail.
Make Photocopies of Identifying Documents
Sometimes bail agents will accept things like utility bills as proof of address. But the problem with these types of documents is that they are easier to forge than other paperwork like:
Proof of Employment
You can accept various types of documents to establish a client’s workplace. W-2 forms, pay stubs, and documented proof of union memberships are pretty solid options.
Social Security Card
Asking for an original social security card will give you an added boost of peace of mind. This way, you don’t have to worry about anyone providing you with a stolen or made up number.
State ID Card
A photo ID card will verify that the client is exactly who they say they are. It can also act as a proof of address when accompanied by a lease or mortgage.
Use Their Fingerprints
A person who is out on bail can fake a lot of things, but their fingerprints don’t make the list. If you keep their fingerprints on file, you will have a solid way to identify a client who jumps bail.
What’s more is knowing that you’ve taken their fingerprints can make the person change their mind about running in general.
Complete Telephone Number Verifications
Early in the application process, you are going to ask potential clients for their phone numbers. Have them call your business line or another one with caller ID so that you can verify that the phone number is actually linked to that person.
It is very common that people will provide made up phone numbers or those that belong to someone else. Completing this simple test will give you insight on the client early on.
A person who has nothing to hide or doesn’t plan to jump bail isn’t going to give you a bad phone number.
Obtain and Track Details Regarding Court Dates
When you actively track clients’ court dates you will know right away whether they showed up. If they didn’t, you can also begin your search right away.
The problem with waiting on a forfeiture letter is that it can take up to a few weeks for you to receive them. And of course, the longer you wait to follow up, the more likely the client will get away.
Consequences of Jumping Bail
In the event that an individual who is out on bond violates any of their bond provisions, they can get charged with bail jumping.
According to both state and federal law, skipping a court appearance after having been bailed out from jail is a crime in itself. With that said, defendants who do it are forfeiting the amount they paid for bail, still have to deal with their criminal charges, and can face even more charges for bail jumping.
Continue Learning About the Bail Bond Industry
If you learned a lot from our “What is Bail Jumping?” article, you will enjoy the other resources on our site. So, check out our blog for more learning.
And when you’re ready, you can apply for training with us. This is where we can help you start a lucrative and satisfying bail bondsman career.