Skipping bail can have serious legal and financial consequences. When you are released on bail, you are legally obligated to appear at all court dates. Failing to do so, known as “skipping bail” or “jumping bail”, triggers a series of repercussions that can complicate your legal situation significantly. 

Immediate Consequences 

The first immediate consequence of skipping bail is the issuance of a bench warrant. A bench warrant is a legal document issued by the judge ordering your arrest. Law enforcement officers are then authorized to apprehend you and bring you back to court. This warrant is typically entered into local, state, and national databases, meaning you could be arrested anywhere.

Financial Repercussions 

When you skip bail, the court will forfeit the bail amount. This means that any money or property posted for your release will be seized by the court. If you used a bail bond agent, they would have to pay the court the full bail amount. Consequently, the bail bond agent will seek to recover this amount from you, often through the use of bounty hunters or other means. 

Legal Implications 

Skilling bail can lead to additional charges beyond the original offense. You may face charges of “failure to appear,” which is a separate criminal offense. Depending on the jurisdiction and the original charge, this can lead to additional fines and jail time. Moreover, your actions may negatively impact any plea deals or leniency that might have been considered by the court.  

Role of Bail Bond Agents 

If you sued a bail bond agent to secure your release, they are financially responsible for ensuring your appearance in court. When you skip bail, the agent will take aggressive measures to locate and apprehend you. This often involves hiring bounty hunters, who are legally permitted to track you down and bring you back to custody. Bounty hunters have significant authority and can cross state lines to capture fugitives. 

Protecting Yourself 

Missing a court date by mistake can happen, but it’s crucial to act quickly to mitigate the consequences: 

  1. 1. Contact Your Attorney: Immediately inform your attorney about the missed court date. They can advise you on the next steps and possibly arrange for a new court date. 
  2. 2. Contact the Court: Sometimes, directly contacting the court can help. Explain the situation and express your willingness to comply with all future court dates. 
  3. 3. Surrender Voluntarily: If a bench warrant has been issued, surrendering voluntarily can show the court that you are not intentionally evading the law. This might result in a more favorable consideration of your circumstances. 
  4. 4. Bail Bond Agent: If you used a bail bond agent, notify them as soon as possible. They may assist in resolving the issue before it escalates further. 


Skipping bail carries significant legal and financial repercussions, including the issuance of a bench warrant, forfeiture of the bail amount, additional charges, and the active pursuit by bail bond agents. If you miss a court date by mistake, it’s crucial to take immediate steps to rectify the situation to avoid these severe consequences. Understanding these risks underscores the importance of adhering to all legal obligations when released on bail.