Bail Leaping for Rookies in Washington State

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In Washington State, an individual commits the crime of “Bail Leaping” if she or he has been launched on their private recognizance, or on bail, and launched with the information they’re required to return to court docket for a subsequent listening to. Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170(1). An individual can be responsible of bail leaping if they’ve information of the requirement to report back to a correctional facility to serve a sentence and fail to take action. Id. In layman’s phrases, if you’re charged with a criminal offense and don’t present as much as court docket when you recognize you might be purported to, or if you don’t report back to jail (or jail) to serve your sentence when you recognize you might be purported to, you might be responsible of the crime of bail leaping.

The crime of bail leaping generally is a felony or a misdemeanor. The category, or stage, of the bail leaping cost relies on the offense you might be initially charged with and fail to seem for. Bail leaping is:

(a) A category A felony if the individual was held for, charged with, or convicted of homicide within the first diploma;

(b) A category B felony if the individual was held for, charged with, or convicted of a category A felony aside from homicide within the first diploma;

(c) A category C felony if the individual was held for, charged with, or convicted of a category B or class C felony;

(d) A misdemeanor if the individual was held for, charged with, or convicted of a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor.

Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170(3).


Is there any protection to bail leaping? Sure. There’s an affirmative protection. An affirmative protection means you admit that you just dedicated the act, however it was legally justified. The protection is specified by the bail leaping statute. It states:

It’s an affirmative protection to a prosecution below this part

that uncontrollable circumstances prevented the individual from

showing or surrendering, and that the individual didn’t contribute

to the creation of such circumstances in reckless disregard of the

requirement to seem or give up, and that the individual appeared

or surrendered as quickly as such circumstances ceased to exist.

Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170(2).

The query is: What is taken into account “uncontrollable circumstances”? Uncontrollable circumstances imply you don’t have any management over the circumstances that prompted you to overlook court docket. An act of God might qualify. For instance, if you happen to miss court docket as a result of a twister picks up your automotive (otherwise you) and smashes it (otherwise you) to the bottom, then you might have a fairly good protection that you just missed your required court docket date based mostly on uncontrollable circumstances. If you’re within the hospital, which will qualify if you will get a word out of your physician that you just had been hospitalized and had been bodily unable to go to court docket. Watch out, nevertheless, if you happen to had been within the hospital due to one thing you probably did, the prosecutor might argue that you just “contributed to the creation of such circumstances”. If you’re kidnapped and being held hostage, which will additionally qualify as a protection. Regardless of the uncontrollable circumstance that retains you from making your court docket date, simply guarantee that as quickly as you’re able, you get your self on the court docket calendar so that you just adjust to the requirement of showing or surrendering as quickly as your uncontrollable circumstance, ceases to exist.

There could also be different defenses that may fall below the class “burden of proof”. Which means the prosecuting authority merely doesn’t have sufficient proof to show every component of the cost past an inexpensive doubt. For instance, they could not have any report that you got discover of the required court docket date and subsequently, couldn’t show the component of data.

Typically talking nevertheless, proving a cost of bail leaping is comparatively simple for the prosecutors. All they want is 1) an authorized copy of the promise to seem to court docket on the particular day that was signed by the defendant once they obtained the court docket date, and a pair of) a witness, comparable to a court docket clerk who can testify that on the date the defendant was required to seem, the court docket report signifies she or he didn’t seem.

A duplicate of the promise to seem signed by the defendant exhibits information of the requirement to seem. Within the county the place I follow, the language within the order setting the subsequent obligatory court docket date states:

The Defendant is ordered to seem in any respect Match for Trial Hearings

[a pretrial or status hearing]… The Defendant’s failure to seem

at Trial or on the Match for Trial or every other hearings set by the

Courtroom might end in issuance of a Bench Warrant, Forfeiture of

Bail and/or prison prosecution for Bail Leaping pursuant to

Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170.

A bail leaping cost could be very troublesome to defend in opposition to. Merely forgetting your court docket date will not be a protection. Division Two of the Washington State Courtroom of Appeals held that based mostly on a plain studying of the statute, “I forgot” will not be a protection. The prosecution solely has to show that he obtained information of the court docket date, not that he had information of the date on a regular basis thereafter.

For the protection lawyer, they need to analysis the regulation and the data within the case. They have to decide whether or not the listening to was one for which the defendant was really required to seem. There are various kinds of hearings and never all require obligatory appearances. They have to analysis and decide if the defendant really had information of the requirement to seem on the listening to and if that’s the case, if there may be any precise proof to show it. Is there a stay witness like a clerk that will likely be referred to as by the prosecution? Is there an authorized copy of a signed promise to seem? Lastly, they need to examine the explanation for the failure to seem and decide if it was an “uncontrollable circumstance”.


As said above, bail leaping is a misdemeanor if the defendant “was held for, charged with, or convicted of a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor.” Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170(3)(d). The utmost penalty for a misdemeanor is 90 days in jail and a $1000 nice. In these instances, the sentencing choose has the authority to condemn the bail jumper wherever from 0 to 90 days in jail and as much as a $1000 nice. As well as, the defendant could also be positioned on probation and be required to pay probation charges.

If the bail leap offense falls into one of many felony courses, it turns into somewhat extra difficult. In Washington, the sentencing scheme principally works on a grid system. The vertical fringe of the grid is the “seriousness stage”. The horizontal edge is the “offender rating”. There are 16 ranges of seriousness within the Washington system. Stage sixteen has just one offense: Aggravated First Diploma Homicide. The one two penalties for that offense are Life in Jail With out the Risk of Parole and the Loss of life Penalty, no matter your offender rating. The bottom seriousness stage is One. That stage consists of crimes comparable to Second Diploma Theft (theft of property valued between $750 and $5000) and Forgery. The offender rating consists of qualifying prior felony convictions. While you decide the seriousness stage of the offense and the offender rating, you will see the “commonplace vary” sentence the court docket should impose. There are exceptions to imposing a sentence inside the usual vary however that may be a dialogue for one more day. Typically, the court docket should impose a sentence inside the usual vary. If that occurs, nobody might attraction that sentence. If the court docket imposes an “distinctive” sentence outdoors the usual vary, both occasion might attraction.

Bail Leaping on a cost of First Diploma Homicide has a seriousness stage of six. With an offender rating of 0 (zero), the usual vary sentence is twelve months plus in the future (which implies jail) to 14 months. The offender rating solely goes to 9 on the sentencing grid. Something increased than 9 will fall into the usual vary for an offender rating of 9. The usual vary for Bail Leaping with First Diploma Homicide with an offender rating of 9 is 77 to 102 months in jail.

Bail Leaping on an authentic cost of a Class A felony has a seriousness stage of 5. The usual sentencing vary begins with 6 to 12 in your native county jail. For an offender rating of nine-plus, the vary is 72 to 96 months in jail.

Lastly, Bail Leaping on a Class B or C felony has a seriousness stage of Three. With an offender rating of 0, the vary is one to 3 months in jail. The vary for an offender rating of nine-plus is 51 to 60 months. Sixty months, or 5 years, is the utmost sentence.


As you may see, the offense of bail leaping is straightforward to commit. For those who merely overlook your court docket date, you could be charged and convicted of bail leaping. You can too see it’s simple to show for the prosecution and troublesome to defend in opposition to for the protection and the results are critical.

So, the phrase to the sensible is DO NOT MISS COURT! The sensible won’t even be late. In the event that they name your title and you aren’t there, you threat getting a Failure To Seem, a bench warrant and a cost of bail leaping. Help in your protection, not your prosecution; don’t miss your court docket date.

#Bail #Leaping #Rookies #Washington #State

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