If I missed a court date a week ago and the bondsman filed a felony warrant for bail jumping and a misdemeanor warrant for violation of misdemeanor probation, what does the jail time look like?

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If I missed a court date a week ago and the bondsman filed a felony warrant for bail jumping and a misdemeanor warrant for violation of misdemeanor probation, what does the jail time look like?

Should I get a lawyer?

Asked on August 6, 2015 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you can afford an attorney, then you need to line up an attorney because you are looking at a mess of charges.

The first charge is the felony warrant for the offense for which you missed court.  If you don't get the bond issue resolved quickly, the prosecutor could potentially make the argument later that you intentionally jumped bail because you knew you were guilty.  The prosecutor can also indict you for a second felony offense called "failure to appear".  In Texas, this is a third degree felony-- which can be stacked on whatever sentence you are assessed on the underlying felony.  So... the sooner you get back into the courtroom and explain that the missed date was an accident, the sooner you can mitigate the damage that you're looking at.

Your second issue is the misdemeanor charge.  Again, the court can consider your failure to appear on the felony as an ancillary attempt to avoid accountability on the misdemeanor probation. 

You really need the assistance of an attorney to help get you through the process of resolving the no-show issues.  If you don't get them solved, you could be sentenced for jail time for each offense (the felony, felony bail jumping, and the misdemeanor)--- and the judge, if he/she so chose, could also decide to stack the sentences.  Just how long you will be sentenced depends on your history and the level of each offense for which you are being charged with.  Bail jumping, for example, is a third degree felony which could result in up to ten years in prison.

I know this looks stressful, but it's still manageable because it just happened... so the sooner you get an attorney to help you resolve the accidental missed court date, the more tame the prosecution will become.

Another option, depending on your bondsman, is to see if your bondsman is willing to go to the court with you and tell the court that your missed court date was an accident and request reinstatement of your bond.  Keep in mind, however, that bondsmen are not attorneys, they cannot advocate for you, and they can't negotiate deals to potentially help you.  Many bondsmen are simply interested in surrendering their client to avoid their share of expenses associated with a bond forfeiture.  Many a client has shown up to court under the guise that "we'll talk to the judge about reinstating the bond", only to have a bondsman walk off after the judge lays eyes on the defendant. 

If you cannot afford an attorney, call the district clerk and find out the procedures for obtaining a court appointed attorney.  This really is something that you need help with so that you don't make statements that will incriminate you further.

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you can afford an attorney, then you need to line up an attorney because you are looking at a mess of charges.

The first charge is the felony warrant for the offense for which you missed court.  If you don't get the bond issue resolved quickly, the prosecutor could potentially make the argument later that you intentionally jumped bail because you knew you were guilty.  The prosecutor can also indict you for a second felony offense called "failure to appear".  In Texas, this is a third degree felony-- which can be stacked on whatever sentence you are assessed on the underlying felony.  So... the sooner you get back into the courtroom and explain that the missed date was an accident, the sooner you can mitigate the damage that you're looking at.

Your second issue is the misdemeanor charge.  Again, the court can consider your failure to appear on the felony as an ancillary attempt to avoid accountability on the misdemeanor probation. 

You really need the assistance of an attorney to help get you through the process of resolving the no-show issues.  If you don't get them solved, you could be sentenced for jail time for each offense (the felony, felony bail jumping, and the misdemeanor)--- and the judge, if he/she so chose, could also decide to stack the sentences.  Just how long you will be sentenced depends on your history and the level of each offense for which you are being charged with.  Bail jumping, for example, is a third degree felony which could result in up to ten years in prison.

I know this looks stressful, but it's still manageable because it just happened... so the sooner you get an attorney to help you resolve the accidental missed court date, the more tame the prosecution will become.

Another option, depending on your bondsman, is to see if your bondsman is willing to go to the court with you and tell the court that your missed court date was an accident and request reinstatement of your bond.  Keep in mind, however, that bondsmen are not attorneys, they cannot advocate for you, and they can't negotiate deals to potentially help you.  Many bondsmen are simply interested in surrendering their client to avoid their share of expenses associated with a bond forfeiture.  Many a client has shown up to court under the guise that "we'll talk to the judge about reinstating the bond", only to have a bondsman walk off after the judge lays eyes on the defendant. 

If you cannot afford an attorney, call the district clerk and find out the procedures for obtaining a court appointed attorney.  This really is something that you need help with so that you don't make statements that will incriminate you further.


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