Bail Leaping for Newbies in Washington Condition

BAIL Jumping:

In Washington State, a man or woman commits the criminal offense of “Bail Jumping” if he or she has been introduced on their individual recognizance, or on bail, and introduced with the understanding they are demanded to return to court docket for a subsequent hearing. Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170(1). A person is also guilty of bail leaping if they have knowledge of the prerequisite to report to a correctional facility to serve a sentence and are unsuccessful to do so. Id. In layman’s terms, if you are charged with a crime and do not demonstrate up to court docket when you know you are intended to, or if you do not report to jail (or prison) to serve your sentence when you know you are intended to, you are guilty of the criminal offense of bail jumping.

The crime of bail leaping can be a felony or a misdemeanor. The class, or stage, of the bail leaping cost is dependent on the offense you are at first billed with and fail to surface for. Bail leaping is:

(a) A course A felony if the human being was held for, charged with, or convicted of murder in the initial diploma

(b) A class B felony if the particular person was held for, charged with, or convicted of a course A felony other than murder in the very first diploma

(c) A class C felony if the person was held for, billed with, or convicted of a class B or course C felony

(d) A misdemeanor if the particular person was held for, charged with, or convicted of a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor.

Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170(3).


Is there any defense to bail leaping? Yes. There is an affirmative defense. An affirmative defense means you confess that you dedicated the act, but it was lawfully justified. The protection is laid out in the bail leaping statute. It states:

It is an affirmative protection to a prosecution under this section

that uncontrollable conditions prevented the man or woman from

showing or surrendering, and that the man or woman did not contribute

to the creation of these types of situation in reckless disregard of the

requirement to look or surrender, and that the human being appeared

or surrendered as before long as these circumstances ceased to exist.

Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170(2).

The question is: What is deemed “uncontrollable situations”? Uncontrollable situation signify you have no control around the conditions that brought about you to miss out on courtroom. An act of God may qualify. For illustration, if you miss out on court docket since a tornado picks up your car or truck (or you) and smashes it (or you) to the ground, then you may perhaps have a fairly superior defense that you missed your required courtroom date based on uncontrollable instances. If you are in the hospital, that may perhaps qualify if you can get a observe from your doctor that you were being hospitalized and were being physically not able to go to court docket. Be thorough, however, if you have been in the medical center because of a little something you did, the prosecutor may possibly argue that you “contributed to the development of these types of circumstances”. If you are kidnapped and getting held hostage, that may perhaps also qualify as a defense. Whichever the uncontrollable circumstance that retains you from making your court docket date, just make guaranteed that as shortly as you are capable, you get on your own on the court docket calendar so that you comply with the necessity of showing or surrendering as shortly as your uncontrollable circumstance, ceases to exist.

There might be other defenses that would slide beneath the group “burden of proof”. That suggests the prosecuting authority simply does not have more than enough proof to prove every single component of the charge outside of a affordable doubt. For instance, they could not have any history that you were given recognize of the needed courtroom date and consequently, could not confirm the factor of know-how.

Commonly speaking nonetheless, proving a charge of bail jumping is relatively uncomplicated for the prosecutors. All they need to have is 1) a certified copy of the assure to show up to court on the specific working day that was signed by the defendant when they obtained the court date, and 2) a witness, this sort of as a courtroom clerk who can testify that on the date the defendant was demanded to surface, the courtroom record suggests he or she did not show up.

A duplicate of the promise to appear signed by the defendant displays know-how of the requirement to appear. In the county in which I observe, the language in the purchase location the upcoming obligatory courtroom date states:

The Defendant is ordered to surface at all In shape for Demo Hearings

[a pretrial or status hearing]… The Defendant’s failure to appear

at Trial or at the Match for Demo or any other hearings established by the

Court docket may perhaps end result in issuance of a Bench Warrant, Forfeiture of

Bail and/or legal prosecution for Bail Leaping pursuant to

Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170.

A bail leaping charge can be very complicated to defend from. Simply forgetting your court date is not a protection. Division Two of the Washington Point out Court docket of Appeals held that centered on a basic reading of the statute, “I forgot” is not a defense. The prosecution only has to demonstrate that he obtained understanding of the court day, not that he experienced awareness of the date day-to-day thereafter.

For the protection legal professional, they should investigate the law and the information in the situation. They have to determine regardless of whether the listening to was one for which the defendant was really necessary to show up. There are various varieties of hearings and not all require necessary appearances. They should study and establish if the defendant essentially had understanding of the prerequisite to look at the listening to and if so, if there is any real evidence to establish it. Is there a stay witness like a clerk that will be named by the prosecution? Is there a certified duplicate of a signed guarantee to surface? Eventually, they need to investigate the rationale for the failure to look and figure out if it was an “uncontrollable circumstance”.


As stated earlier mentioned, bail jumping is a misdemeanor if the defendant “was held for, charged with, or convicted of a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor.” Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170(3)(d). The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor is 90 times in jail and a $1000 good. In all those cases, the sentencing decide has the authority to sentence the bail jumper wherever from to 90 times in jail and up to a $1000 good. In addition, the defendant might be placed on probation and be essential to spend probation charges.

If the bail jump offense falls into a single of the felony courses, it gets a minimal extra complicated. In Washington, the sentencing plan generally is effective on a grid program. The vertical edge of the grid is the “seriousness amount”. The horizontal edge is the “offender score”. There are 16 concentrations of seriousness in the Washington technique. Level sixteen has only one particular offense: Aggravated First Diploma Murder. The only two penalties for that offense are Everyday living in Prison With out the Possibility of Parole and the Death Penalty, irrespective of your offender rating. The lowest seriousness level is One. That amount features crimes these kinds of as Second Diploma Theft (theft of house valued in between $750 and $5000) and Forgery. The offender score is composed of qualifying prior felony convictions. When you identify the seriousness degree of the offense and the offender score, you will locate the “regular range” sentence the courtroom must impose. There are exceptions to imposing a sentence inside of the standard variety but that is a dialogue for another working day. Typically, the court ought to impose a sentence inside of the standard array. If that comes about, no a single may perhaps appeal that sentence. If the courtroom imposes an “remarkable” sentence exterior the typical vary, either get together may perhaps appeal.

Bail Leaping on a charge of 1st Degree Murder has a seriousness level of six. With an offender rating of (zero), the common assortment sentence is twelve months additionally one particular day (which means jail) to fourteen months. The offender rating only goes to nine on the sentencing grid. Everything bigger than 9 will fall into the standard array for an offender rating of nine. The standard array for Bail Jumping with Very first Degree Murder with an offender rating of 9 is 77 to 102 months in prison.

Bail Leaping on an original demand of a Course A felony has a seriousness level of Five. The standard sentencing assortment starts with 6 to 12 in your community county jail. For an offender score of nine-moreover, the vary is 72 to 96 months in prison.

Last but not least, Bail Leaping on a Class B or C felony has a seriousness level of A few. With an offender score of , the variety is 1 to a few months in jail. The array for an offender rating of nine-as well as is 51 to 60 months. Sixty months, or five decades, is the most sentence.


As you can see, the offense of bail leaping is straightforward to commit. If you just overlook your court docket date, you can be charged and convicted of bail leaping. You can also see it is uncomplicated to establish for the prosecution and tough to protect from for the protection and the outcomes are really serious.

So, the term to the clever is DO NOT Pass up Court docket! The sensible will not even be late. If they connect with your identify and you are not there, you danger having a Failure To Surface, a bench warrant and a cost of bail leaping. Support in your protection, not your prosecution do not skip your courtroom day.