What Are the Consequences for Failure to Appear in Texas?
As written in a recent prior post, although Texas lawmakers are working on legislation that would change the state’s bail system, the current system does provide options for a person who has been charged with a crime to be released on bail while they are awaiting trial, depending on the circumstances of the crime they have been charged with and their prior criminal record.
But what happens if a defendant who has been released on bail fails to show up for their trial? What are the legal consequences they may be facing?
Operation Washout Silver Bear
Last month, during a one-week operation, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Texas Lone Star Fugitive Task Force worked together with local law enforcement and other agencies and captured 66 people who were wanted for jumping bail. The majority of those arrested were classified by the task force as “violent fugitives and gang members.”
The operation, referred to as Operation Washout Silver Bear, had a stated mission of finding and arresting individuals arrested for violent crimes who failed to show up to court after they had been indicted. Included in the variety of crimes these individuals had been originally charged with were assault with a deadly weapon, murder, and human smuggling. The group also included 43 alleged gang members, including one man who was on the state Top Ten Fugitives list.
During the operation, law enforcement also seized more than 1.6 kilos of drugs, nine firearms, and approximately $4,000 in cash. This will likely result in additional criminal charges for those involved.
Penalties for Bail Jumping
When a defendant jumps bail and fails to appear for a court appearance as ordered, they can face additional charges separate from the charge or charges they were originally arrested for.
In Texas, the level of charge a person faces for failure to appear depends on what the original charge they jumped bail on was:
If the original offense was a Class C misdemeanor – such as a traffic ticket or other municipal offense – the failure to appear charge would also be a Class C misdemeanor and penalty for conviction would be a maximum fine of up to $500.
If the original offense was a misdemeanor, the failure to appear charge would be a Class A misdemeanor and penalty for conviction could be up to 12 months in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
If the original offense was a felony, the failure to appear charge would be a third-degree felony and penalty for conviction could be up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Contact a Plano, TX Defense Attorney for Legal Assistance
If you have been charged with a crime or are accused of jumping bail, trying to navigate through the Texas criminal justice system without a skilled Collin County criminal lawyer advocating for you could result in serious penalties. Call The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. at 214-303-9600 to schedule a free consultation and find out what legal options against these charges you may have.