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Bail jumping: How can a criminal defense attorney help me?

Bail jumping charges are pretty straightforward: the government believes you violated conditions of your bond.  This crime is prohibited by section 946.49 of the Wisconsin Statutes, which states:

(1) Whoever, having been released from custody [on bail], intentionally fails to comply with the terms of his or her bond is:

(a) If the offense with which the person is charged is a misdemeanor, guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(b) If the offense with which the person is charged is a felony, guilty of a Class H felony.

Obviously these charges can get very serious very quickly.  We certainly believe that hiring a top Wisconsin criminal defense attorney will make your case easier.  For help defending your charges, contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. at (414) 270-0202.

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Elements of the offense:

Bail jumping, like all other criminal offenses requires that the government prove parts of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  The “parts” are elements.  Wisconsin Jury Instruction 1795 provides the elements of bail jumping:

  1. Firstly, the defendant was arrested for or charged with a felony or misdemeanor; and
  2. Secondly, the defendant was released from custody on bond; and
  3. Finally, the defendant intentionally failed to comply with the terms of the bond.

felony is a case punishable by imprisonment in the Wisconsin state prison system.  A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by imprisonment in the county jail.

Is bail jumping a felony or misdemeanor?

This depends upon the underlying charge.  If you were out on bail on a misdemeanor and violated conditions of bond, the bail jumping charge is a misdemeanor.  If you were out on bail on a felony and violated conditions of bond, the bail jumping charge is a felony.

What happens if I beat the underlying charge?

This is one of the most difficult considerations of this criminal charge.  It’s also why it’s a very good idea to follow your conditions of bail and abide by the rules the court sets out.  If you violate terms of your bond, but win the underlying case, you can still be convicted of bail jumping.

For example: You committed an armed robbery by stealing a purse and threatening the victim with a gun.  You go to court.  The judge sets a signature bond and simply tells you to avoid contact with the victim.  You get out of jail and you call the victim.  Certainly that’s a violation of the rules of your bond.  But if you win the armed robbery case, the bail jumping charge does not go away.  In fact, it’s our experience that the government will try to punish you harder for the bail jumping.  They certainly missed convicting you for the robbery – so they may try to get you for the other charge.

Can I commit bail jumping while still in custody?

Absolutely.  The relevant term when considering a bail jumping is “release.”  Release refers to the posting of bond, be it signature or cash, and need not be accompanied by the defendant’s physical departure from the jailhouse.  State v. Deewitt, 2008 WI App 134.

For example: You’re in court for your underlying charges.  You sign off on your conditions of bail.  All you’re waiting on is the release from jail.  If you call the victim in that armed robbery case, you’re probably going to face bail jumping charges.

Finally, which county handles the bail jumping charges?  For example, if Milwaukee sets your bond, but you violate in Ozaukee County, either county may charge bail jumping.

What penalties am I facing?

  • Misdemeanor: This is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 9 months in the county jail, $10,000.00 in fines, or both.
  • Felony: This is a Class H felony, punishable by up to 6 years in prison, $10,000.00 in fines, or both.

Hire a criminal defense attorney at Meyer Van Severen for your criminal case

The addition of these charges increases the severity of your case.  But don’t let the government hold additional charges over your head.

Hire a top Milwaukee criminal defense attorney to fight your case.  At Meyer Van Severen, 100% of our focus is on criminal charges.  If you, a friend, or family member faces criminal charges, contact us immediately at (414) 270-0202.