In nearly every state, nonappearance not only results in forfeiture of bail, but is also considered a separate crime. This crime is commonly referred to as “bail jumping” or “criminal failure to appear.” Only three states do not have a separate crime for nonappearance—Maryland, Mississippi, and Wyoming. Ohio and Montana limit nonappearance crimes to those where a defendant is released on his or her own recognizance (as opposed to release on security or bond).
The majority of states with a separate crime of “bail jumping” or “failure to appear” require the act of nonappearance to have been done knowingly, willfully, or intentionally. Fewer than 10 states have strict liability for nonappearance.
The penalties for the criminal offense of nonappearance are often tied to the offense level of the underlying charges. For example, if a person is found guilty of bail jumping on a felony charge, the penalty will often be a lesser felony. The same applies to misdemeanor bail jumping. At least four states require that any conviction for bail jumping be served consecutively to any sentence imposed for the underlying charge
Only a handful of states—including Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, and Wisconsin—also have a separate crime for conditions violations other than nonappearance. Generally, a conditions violation results in sanctions, such as new or increased conditions or increased bail. If the violation of release conditions is commission of a new offense, common penalties include revocation of current release, denial of release for new offense, or upon conviction, enhanced or consecutive sentencing.
In Minnesota, the statutory penalty for "bail jumping" is one-half the maximum penalty for the underlying felony offense. Rhode Island applies the same felony sentence as the underlying offense with a maximum 10-year sentence.
This map identifies states that criminalize "bail jumping" for nonappearance only (green), nonappearance and conditions violations (blue), or neither (grey). Click on the state to learn more about criminal penalties associated with bail violations. (Note: *This map does not identify criminal contempt statutes or protection order conditions violations.)