Committing a Misdemeanor While on Bail
What is Bail?
Bail is the sum of money a defendant must post with the court to be discharged. The money assures the court that the defendant will appear at all future court dates. Bail amounts vary based on the offense and a county’s bail schedule. Bail is usually set at a bail hearing or at arraignment (the initial court date/hearing in a criminal case). A defendant can post bail in cash or through a bail bondsman.
Misdemeanor crimes bear less consequence than felonies, but are still very serious. Examples include driving under the influence, possession of a controlled substance, and petty theft.
When out on bail, committing a misdemeanor offense can have serious repercussions. It may result in the increase of your bail, or a second bail being set. Your bail may also be revoked with a remand into custody. A misdemeanor charge can mean the loss of any plea bargain that has been offered.
Bail, as referred to throughout this article, is the amount of money you must post with the court in order to be released from jail after an arrest. The money is a guarantee to the court that you will appear in court in the future. If a person is arrested for a misdemeanor while on bail, the new arrest may result in a new case and a new bail process with the court, which may include a new bail hearing. The arrested person might be held in custody until a new bail amount is set and posted.
The judge may release you on your own recognizance in specific instances (commonly referred to as an O.R. release). You do not post if the judge orders you to be released O.R. You just need to promise to be present for future court dates, with an absence holding serious consequences.
If facing a bail increase a judge establishes the proper amount of bail that an arrestee must deposit during the hearing. Most states allow a judge t o consider the following variables when determining bail; The nature of the conduct committed, the defendant’s criminal history or criminal record, and the public’s safety are all factors to consider.
Another arrest might indicate that the person has a history of criminal behavior and constitutes a threat to public safety. A defendant’s new criminal charges may also indicate that he or she is a flight risk. Both of these factors might persuade a judge to impose bail at a greater level than usual. A pre-existing bail may not be used as a credit toward the new amount.
Bail Revocation and Forfeiture
A court may set conditions on posting bail. For example, they may require that you not commit a crime while on bail.
If your new crime breaches a condition of your earlier bail, the judge might revoke it. Bail revocation usually results in arrest. If bail is canceled, the defendant owes the court the full bail.
The court retains the bond money indefinitely if a defendant hired a bail bonds business to post bail. This is referred to as bail forfeiture. In the event of bail forfeiture, the court receives the bail sum. The defendant must then surrender any collateral used to obtain the bond to the bond business.
Additional Felony Convictions
Furthermore, committing a serious crime while on bail for additional felony charges may result in a sentence increase. This is known as a “crime bail enhancement.” If convicted of both crimes, offenders generally face an extra two years in state prison (that is, the new felony and the underlying felony).