Let’s say you’ve been arrested for a fairly serious crime that, of course, you did not commit. You’re taken to jail and charged and then after some time you’re given an opportunity to contact a lawyer. You ask the lawyer to contact your mother and ask her to arrange bail for you through a bondsman. Being your mother, she obliges. But it’s no easy thing for her to do. She’s not rich and your father has been having some health problems that have drained their savings. Still, she’s your mom and so she contacts a bail agent. He works with her to identify sufficient collateral to secure the bond. That being their house. The contract is signed the next day and before you know it you’re released.
Once released you begin to contemplate the charges against you and what you’re going to have to do to be exonerated. The charges are serious, which is why bail was so high, which means you’re going to need a good lawyer. Even so, you might lose the first round and wind up in jail while awaiting word on your appeal. And if that happens you’ll likely lose your job and more. When faced with such situations more than a few people decide that the best route is to simply high tail it out of Dodge and start over somewhere else. It’s risky but it’s better than ending up in jail for years for something you didn’t do. And after all, bail jumping is a victimless crime. Right?
Many people justify jumping bail by telling themselves it’s a victimless crime. But is that true? Are you the only one who pays if you decide to head for the hills instead of appearing in court? Of course not. Remember mom? She put her house up as collateral and signed the bail contract to get you released. She did it because she believes in your innocence and is willing to do whatever it takes to see you beat these outrageous charges. If you jump bail now it’s not The Man who’s going to take a hit, it’s her.
The prospect of a long, expensive court battle is no one’s idea of fun. The fact that it might take years to clear your name is one of the many downsides of our overworked criminal justice system. But when you decide to jump bail you are not making a clean break. You are instead deciding to leave someone else holding the bag: your indemnitor. It might be your mother or father or another family member, or it might be a close friend, spouse or even an adult child. But regardless of who decided to demonstrate faith in you by becoming your indemnitor the responsibility for your actions is transferred to that person when you decide to skedaddle. As such:
All because they believed in you.
Even if you skipped out and the court revoked your bail it’s not too late to demonstrate your indemnitor’s faith in you was not misplaced. If you return promptly and surrender yourself to the bail bonding agent without incident there’s a chance the court may decide to look the other way and put a hold on any bond forfeiture proceedings.
Believe it or not the people in the justice system are human beings too. They understand good people can make mistakes when faced with the daunting task of defending themselves against serious charges. Therefore:
Whether bail is reinstated or not the most important thing is that the lives of the people who went to bat for you won’t be destroyed by your actions. Instead, they’ll be proud that you showed enough character to admit your mistake and they’ll be there right behind you in court as you walk the path toward exoneration.