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What Happens if I Violate my Bail Conditions?

If you’re arrested for a crime in Arizona, you will likely be given a bond by the judge in your case. When you receive this bond, you’ll have to abide by several “bail conditions.” What are these bond conditions? They’re particular to every case, but in most instances, they will be based on special factors related to your crime. If you were arrested for driving while intoxicated, for instance, you will likely be required to attend alcohol classes or put an interlock device in your car. You may be required to avoid contact with any victim in your case. Almost each types of bond in Arizona will include conditions related to avoiding drug use or future crimes. The interesting question then revolves around what happens if you violate these conditions. Here’s a guide.

Man vs. Judge: What options will the court have if I violate my bail conditions?

At the outset, you should know that the trial judge will have the power to revoke your bond if you fail to live up to the conditions under which it was imposed. Judges have significant leeway to make their own decisions during this process. Some will give you a break, allowing you to continue on bond. Others will drive a hard bargain, revoking your bond the first time you make a mistake. Your will lawyer should have a good sense of just how restrictive your judge will be.

Can the judge hold me in jail forever?

It is generally illegal for the judge to hold you without a bond for an extended period of time unless you meet several conditions. If you are not a danger to society, and if you are not a flight risk, then judges generally will have to give you a bond. This means that even if you violate your bail conditions, you will likely receive another bond after having a bond hearing.

However, this does not mean that you will get out immediately. If you violate your bail laws or conditions and a judge decides to revoke your bond, the following may happen:

  • You may be re-arrested
  • A bench warrant will be issued for you
  • You will have the opportunity to turn yourself in or, in some cases, you will be picked up
  • You will usually have to sit in jail for a minimum of a few hours
  • The waiting time can be longer, as your lawyer will have to work to get your bond reinstated

What will happen if a judge refuses to give me a new bond?

Some judges may appear to get upset with defendants that refuse to comply with their bail conditions. Those judges may attempt to hold you without a bail for a few days on end. Good lawyers know that this is not legal, and they will file a motion for a bond, requiring the judge to provide you with a new bond amount. While judges may attempt to take out their anger and aggression for a while, they will generally be required to comply with the law. It helps if you have a good lawyer who is willing to fight for you during this process.

Your Outcome Typically Depends on which Bail Condition was Violated

There are a few different bail conditions you may violate, including the following:

Not all bail condition violations are created equally. It may technically be a violation that you showed up late to court. This is the sort of thing that most judges will excuse as long as you do not make a habit of it. However, if you happen to go out and try to make contact with the victim in a domestic violence situation, then that is the kind of violation that judges are likely to take much more seriously.

Missing court repeatedly, leaving the state, not checking in with your coordinator or committing a new crime will likely lead to your bond being revoked. If you have been involved in an alcohol-related offense, drinking will likely lead to a revocation. A positive drug test while you are out on bond will also usually lead to having your bond revoked. While it is difficult to say for sure what will happen because of the broad discretion that judges have over these issues, as a general rule, the more serious the violation, the more likely you will have the bond revoked.

Setting a Higher Bond Amount

If your bond is revoked because you violated the bail conditions, you should be prepared to face a higher bond the next time. While judges have to give you a new bond in most cases, there is nothing that requires them to be charitable in these instances. If they happened to provide you with a nice, low bond the first time, then they will almost certainly bump that up after you have violated your bond. Ultimately the higher bond will be designed to show you that they mean business with the new bond.

In many instances, this will cost you a significant amount of money. When most people attempt to bond out, they have to use a bail bonding company that takes a fee to post the bond. The higher the bond goes, the more you will have to pay to this company to help you get out. This is why there is a huge incentive for following through with the original bail conditions, especially if the judge has given you a low bond or a personal recognizance bond.

More Restrictive Bail Conditions Will Follow

If you happen to violate your bond, then you can expect your new bond to have more restrictive conditions. You may be required to check in more often with your court officer. You may be required to come to court more often. You may even have to wear an ankle monitoring device if your last bail violation involved leaving the state. The court has broad power to ensure that you comply with the conditions, so do not be surprised if your new bail conditions are even more unpleasant than your first set. Your lawyer can fight for less restrictive conditions. However, you should know that your lawyer loses leverage every single time you violate your bond.

Ultimately violating your bail conditions may or may not lead to your bond being revoked. It depends on the judge, your history in the court and which conditions your happened to violate. It will typically lead to some adverse result for you, so it is best to abide by those conditions to the best of your ability.  The best defense lawyer in Arizona can help guide you through the process, explaining what you have to do in order to stay within the law and within the contours of your bail conditions.

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