Bail Jumping Law and Legal Definition

Bail jumping is a practice in which someone who has been released on bail attempts to evade a court appearance with the intent of avoiding a trial, possible conviction, and sentence. In a bail jumping the accused person fails to appear at a specified time and place without lawful excuse. Bail jumping is also termed as bail skipping. When someone skips bail, s/he gives up the amount paid in bail, and a warrant will be issued for the bail jumper's arrest.

The following is an example of a state statute (Alabama) on bail jumping:

Code of Ala. § 13A-10-39. Bail jumping; first degree.

(a) The person commits the crime of bail jumping in the first degree if, having been lawfully released from custody, with or without bail, upon condition that he will subsequently appear at a specified time and place in connection with a charge of his having committed murder or any Class A or B felony, he fails to appear at the time and place.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the defendant's failure to appear was unintentional or was unavoidable and due to circumstances beyond his control. The burden of injecting the defense of an unintentional failure to appear, or unavoidability and circumstances beyond his control, is on the defendant.

(c) Bail jumping in the first degree is a Class C felony.