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Frequently Asked Questions About Bail Jump RCW 9A.76.170

I was not on bail at the time I missed court so how can I be guilty of Bail Jump?

The bail jump statute does not require that you be on bail at the time. It simply requires that you: 1. Failed to appear for a scheduled court date, 2. You were charged with a crime, 3. That you had been released by court order, and that these events occurred in the State of Washington.

I didn't jump bail, I just missed my court date. How can I be guilty of Bail Jump?

The bail jump statute does not require that you flee the jurisdiction. It criminalizes the failure to appear for a court date.

My bail bondsman said he was okay with me missing court so they cannot bring a bail jump charge correct?

Your bondsman does not decide whether or not bail jump charges are brought against you. Your bondsman decides whether to surrender you after you have failed to appear for court. This decision is independent of the decision as to whether or not bail jump charges are brought. The prosecutor determines whether or not bail jump charges are brought against you.

am going to beat the original charge at trial so they cannot bring a bail jump charge against me for missing court on that case correct?

Bail Jump is a separate crime, getting a dismissal or acquittal does not remove the duty to appear for court. In State v. Williams, (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/wa-supreme-court/1059791.html) Mr. Williams successfully had his possession with intent to deliver case dismissed. However, because he missed court, he was later convicted of the bail jump. The Washington Supreme Court upheld this conviction.

I set up my quash date; I was not arrested so how can they bring bail jump charges against me?

Unless you meet the statutory affirmative defense, the prosecutor is free to bring bail jump charges against you regardless.

I told my attorney I needed to "Squash my Warrant". My attorney looked at me strangely. What did I say wrong?

Although somewhat similar in intent, the legal word is quashed, not squashed.

What is the full statute for bail jumping in Washington State? Section 1-2 reads:

(1) Any person having been released by court order or admitted to bail with knowledge of the requirement of a subsequent personal appearance before any court of this state, or of the requirement to report to a correctional facility for service of sentence, and who fails to appear or who fails to surrender for service of sentence as required is guilty of bail jumping. (2) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that uncontrollable circumstances prevented the person from appearing or surrendering, and that the person did not contribute to the creation of such circumstances in reckless disregard of the requirement to appear or surrender, and that the person appeared or surrendered as soon as such circumstances ceased to exist.

What is the full statute for bail jumping in Washington State? Section 3 reads:

(3) Bail jumping is: (a) A class A felony if the person was held for, charged with, or convicted of murder in the first degree; (b) A class B felony if the person was held for, charged with, or convicted of a class A felony other than murder in the first degree; (c) A class C felony if the person was held for, charged with, or convicted of a class B or class C felony.

What is the Jury Pattern Instruction defining Bail jump?

Washington Pattern Jury Instruction 120.40 defines Bail Jumping: A person commits the crime of bail jumping when [he][she][fails to appear][or][fails to surrender] as required after having been released by court order or admitted to bail with knowledge of the requirement [of a subsequent personal appearance before a court][or][to report to a correctional facility for service of sentence.]

What is the Jury Pattern laying out the elements of Bail jump (Washington Pattern Jury Instruction 120.41)?

To convict the defendant of the crime of bail jumping, each of the following elements of the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) That on or about the __________, the defendant failed [to appear before a court][or][to surrender for service of sentence]; (2) That the defendant [was being held for][or][was charged with][or][had been convicted of]__________; (3) That the defendant had been released by court order [or admitted to bail] with knowledge of [the requirement of a subsequent personal appearance before that court][or][the requirement to report to a correctional facility for service of sentence]; and (4) That any of these acts occurred in the [State of Washington][City of ][County of ]. If you find from the evidence that each of these elements has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, then it will be your duty to return a verdict of guilty.

On the other hand, if, after weighing all of the evidence, you have a reasonable doubt as to any one of these elements, then it will be your duty to return a verdict of not guilty.

What is the Jury Pattern laying out the affirmative defense of Bail jump?

It is a defense to a charge of bail jumping that: (1) uncontrollable circumstances prevented the defendant from [personally appearing in court][or][failing to surrender for service of sentence]; and (2) the defendant did not contribute to the creation of such circumstances in reckless disregard of the requirement to [appear][or][surrender]; and (3) the defendant [appeared][or][surrendered] as soon as such circumstances ceased to exist. For the purposes of this defense, an uncontrollable circumstance is an act of nature such as a flood, earthquake, or fire, or a medical condition that requires immediate hospitalization or treatment, or an act of man such as an automobile accident or threats of death, forcible sexual attack, or substantial bodily injury in the immediate future for which there is no time for a complaint to the authorities and no time or opportunity to resort to the courts.

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