If you are charged with a crime, you may be place on bail pending the outcome of your case. Your bail may include certain conditions you need to abide by during your case's progression. What you may not know is that if you violate any condition of your bail, for any reason, there will be serious consequences. These consequences can include new criminal charges, and potentially spending the rest of your case in jail. Bail conditions are not always set in stone, but do require arguments in order to change them. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can discuss your bail conditions and how they impact your life, and can potentially have the court change your conditions to get your life back on track.
If you violate any of your bail conditions, you may face new criminal charges that may have their own, more strict bail conditions in place. The crime of violating bail is known as a Violation of Condition of Release, often abbreviated as VCR. VCR is typically a Class E misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a one thousand dollar fine. You can be charged with this crime no matter what your violation may be. Whether you were possessing alcohol when you were not allowed, spoke to someone who you were prohibited from speaking with, or committing an unrelated crime can all lead to a charge of VCR. If you are initially charged with a felony and out on bail, violating certain conditions can elevate your VCR to a Class C felony, with a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a five thousand dollar fine, and two years of probation. These felony bail violations include contacting an alleged victim or witness or their family, possessing a firearm or dangerous weapon, failing to enter or remain in a residential treatment facility for substance abuse, or not returning to jail when required. Violating conditions of release will likely result in new criminal charges in addition to any you were already facing, which can complicate both cases. Even if something would not normally be criminal conduct, if you violate a condition of bail that prevents you from doing something, that will be considered new criminal conduct.
In addition to new criminal charges, violating conditions of release may result in you being placed in jail for the remainder of your case. If the State, through the prosecutor's office, believes it can prove there was probable cause you committed a crime while on bail, or by clear and convincing evidence you did not appear in court or violated some other provision of bail, they may file a Motion to Revoke your Bail. This motion, if granted by the Court, will either subject you to much more strict bail conditions, or may require that you be held without bail pending your case, meaning you will spend the rest of your case incarcerated. At the beginning of every criminal case, a defendant has a right to bail, and will be given bail unless there is reason to believe, among other tings, that no conditions will prevent a defendant from committing new criminal conduct. If you are granted bail and then you then violate your bail conditions, a judge may order you be held without bail for the duration of your case. This could mean you will spend months in jail before your case resolves. There are potential ways to avoid a bail revocation, or to make sure you do not sit in jail for the duration of your case, but it can become complicated. Hiring a criminal defense attorney who knows bail arguments will ensure you have the best arguments for your release and will help set you up for success.
While bail conditions are serious, they may be modified or amended if the right argument is made. Oftentimes, bail conditions can conflict with employment or childcare needs, can force someone out of their home, or may appear more strict than necessary. Additionally, circumstances in someone's life can change where bail conditions that were once tolerable now pose problems. A judge will not always grant a motion to amend bail conditions, but with the right argument, it can be done. A criminal defense attorney will be able to shape the argument in a way that the judge would be most inclined to make the change.
Bail conditions may seem minor depending on your specific conditions, but violating them can have severe consequences. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you modify them and get your life back on track. If you have been charged with a crime and have been placed on bail, contact the attorneys at WTB LAW immediately for a consultation.