“Jumping bail” and “skipping bail” are typical terms used for the U.S. felony 18 USC 3146. To be charged with the crime of "skipping bail", an individual must be released from jail on a bail bond and intentionally and purposely fail to return for an appointed courtroom date.
In some circumstances, a defendant may be charged with skipping bail even before a court date is missed. For example, if a person purchases airplane tickets or tickets for other transporation to depart the region soon before his court docket appointment, the court may interpret that purchase as a willful intention to evade legal proceedings.
Once a defendant skips bail, a chain of events is set in motion.
1. Any bail money posted is given up.
2. Additional charges are filed that might lead to larger fines or longer jail time.
3. Bail is revoked and an arrest warrant is issued.
Not only is skipping or jumping bail a legal offense, the defendant may also take on the wrath of the bail bondsman who put up the cash to ensure his release. That person is out money, and wants it repaid. The function of a bail bondsman is essentially to act as a finance officer for people that have been charged with criminal offenses who are attempting to raise income to get out of jail. The defendant, loved ones or friends pay only ten percent of the bail amount (or the legal amount designated by individual state laws) and put up property as collateral to secure the the rest of the total bail amount from the bonding company. That is termed a surety bond.
If the defendant jumps bail, the bondsman may offer a bounty, or a reward, for his capture. A bounty hunter will attempt to track down the defendant and bring him back to jail in exchange for the reward cash. Bounty hunting is legal in only two countries, the United States and the Philippines. The total amount of time a bounty hunter has to deliver the defendant varies from one jurisdiction to another. It may be as short as three days, or as long as one year.
If the bail jumper is not brought to justice, his household, family and friends may suffer. The bail bonding company might try to make back its losses by attaching the collateral which was put up when the bond was issued. Frequently that security is a house, or a vehicle, and the bail skipper’s family members may be left homeless.