What is the Definition of Bail Jumping?
For the State to convict someone of Bail Jumping, under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-7, the Prosecutor must show that the defendant failed to appear without lawful excuse. To prove this, the Prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant:
- Was set at liberty by court order;
- Failed to appear in court despite the fact that his or her release from custody was conditioned on appearance in court;
- Failed to appear at the specified time and place; and
- Lacked a lawful excuse for his non-appearance.
In Essex County, and New Jersey generally, willful non-appearance is considered failure to have a valid excuse. In other words, an individual may only be convicted for bail jumping if they purposely did not appear. A common example of a lawful excuse would be if it is impossible for a defendant to appear because he is incarcerated or confined to a hospital.
What Grade of Crime Is Bail Jumping?
The grade or degree of a bail jumping offense an individual is charged with will depend on the grade of the underlying offense, which the defendant attempted to avoid. If the offense for which the defendant’s presence was required is a third degree or higher, then the bail jumping charge will be a third degree offense. It is fourth degree bail jumping to flee or intentionally fail to appear on a crime of the fourth degree. The bail jumping charge is a disorderly persons offense if the underlying violation is also a disorderly person. Lastly, it is a petty disorderly charge for bail jumping where the original charge was a petty disorderly persons offense.
What Penalties Will I Face If I Am Convicted of Bail Jumping?
Yes. If convicted of third degree bail jumping, you will be subject to three (3) to five (5) years of incarceration and a $15,000 fine. Conviction for a Fourth degree bail jumping carries eighteen (18) months in jail and a $10,000 fine. Lastly, a disorderly persons offense for bail jumping exposes you to a jail term that could reach up to six (6) months and a $1,000 fine.
If you have been charged with bail jumping, the overwhelming likelihood is that your case will be handled at the Superior Court in Newark. Our attorneys appear in this court almost daily and are extremely knowledgeable regarding the operation of the court. To reach an experienced bail attorney in Newark for a free consultation, call 973-710-1520.