If a person is released on bail or personal recognizance and fails to appear in court, then that person might be charged with bail jumping, which is prohibited by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 276, Section 82A.
If you have been charged with bail jumping, the government will have to prove the following three things beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted:
You were released on personal recognizance or bail by either a judge or a bail magistrate. Being released on personal recognizance means being released on your word without having to pay money.
You were aware of you court date and that a condition of your release was to be in court on that date.
You didn't appear in court.
If you offer evidence that you had a "sufficient excuse" or "sufficient cause" for failing to appear, then the government will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not have a sufficient excuse. This will require proof that you deliberately or willfully failed to appear. If you intended to be in court but were unable to do so, then your conduct does not amount to the crime of bail jumping. There are many things that could count as sufficient excuses, such as illnesses or accidents, and all of the circumstances will be considered. However, something like fear of the outcome of your case would not be a sufficient excuse.Punishment
In the case of a misdemeanor, bail jumping is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment in the house of correction for up to 1 year, or both. In the case of a felony, bail jumping is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 or imprisonment in state prison for up to 5 years or in a house of correction for up to 2 years, or both. If jail time is imposed for bail jumping, then it will be consecutive to any other prison sentence for the underlying crime.Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney
Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. is a Massachusetts defense lawyer who has more than three decades of experience. Attorney Wheeler can offer you the kind of knowledge and expertise that only comes with years in the trenches. If you have been charged with bail jumping or any other criminal offense, speak with Attorney Wheeler.Law Office of Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. (617) 973 5858
Contact the Law Office of Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. at (617) 973 5858 (24 hours a day and 7 days a week) or send Attorney Wheeler an e-mail.