The bail system is one way our country reinforces the presumption of innocence. Because a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty he has the right to be released from custody and resume his life while awaiting trial. Bail is used as an incentive to make sure he shows up at court on the appointed date to face the charges against him. If he doesn’t, he stands to lose a lot of money. While the concept seems straightforward enough many people are still confused about what they can and can’t do after the bondsman secures their release. One of the most common questions they have has to do with whether they are allowed to travel after being bailed out.

Am I Allowed to Travel if I’m Out on Bail?

The Tricky Issue of Traveling on Bail

Even though people are presumed innocent the state retains a compelling interest in making sure defendants show up at court to face the charges against them. As such, the fact that they have been allowed to return home to Adams County, Broomfield County, Weld County or Denver doesn’t mean everything is hunky dory. After all, they’ve been accused of a crime - in many cases a serious crime - and that reality is not to be dismissed. So, the answer regarding whether a person should be allowed to travel once they’ve been released on bail needs to weigh the rights of the accused against the right of society to ensure that people are held accountable for their actions.

Common Conditions of Release

In order to ensure everyone’s rights are protected being out on bail is not exactly the same as being free. There are certain restrictions that come with this type of release that change from case to case. Release conditions may include:

  • Staying away from a particular person or place.
  • Not going home (a common restriction in domestic abuse cases).
  • Not drinking or taking drugs.
  • Having a device installed that tests the breath and locks the car ignition if alcohol is detected.

When it comes to restrictions on travel most people accused of common offences will be allowed to travel between states while those accused of more serious offences may be forbidden from doing so.

Who Decides if You Can Travel: The Bondsman?

As a general rule the court is the entity that determines whether or not you are allowed to travel while out on bail. If you are not accused of an egregious offense and you paid the bail amount yourself it’s likely the court won’t put any conditions on your movement. If, however, you are accused of a serious offense you may have your movement restricted. In addition, if you engaged the services of a bail bonding agent to gain your release they may insist you agree not to leave the state until your case is concluded. In fact, they may make that one of the conditions of the bail bond contract. If you or your indemnitor signs a contract that includes this condition and then you leave the state you can be arrested.

Is It Possible to Just Sneak Away as Long as I Come Back?

What a person does with their life is up to them. However, no one intent on putting their legal troubles behind them would knowingly violate the terms of their bail. It is a recipe for disaster that could send shockwaves through your case. If you are involved in an accident in another state or find yourself hospitalized or arrested for some reason you can rest assured your bail agent and the court will learn of it. And when they do bail will likely be revoked and your indemnitor may face the forfeiture of whatever collateral they put up to gain your release. Also, once you are returned to the state of the offense you will be sent straight to jail where you will stay until your court date. Remember; in such cases hopping over the state line for some fun isn’t an innocent act, it’s jumping bail.

What if I Don’t Live in the State Where I Was Arrested?

In misdemeanor cases you will likely be allowed to return home until your court date. In some cases, you can send an attorney to represent you in court, negating the need to travel back to the scene of the crime. If neither you nor an attorney appears to face the charges, however, bail will be revoked. In more serious cases you may not be allowed to leave the state and will need to secure your own living quarters and pay your own way both before and during the trial. If you leave the state anyway and don’t appear in court your bail will be revoked and you will be subject to extradition to face the charges against you (which will now include jumping bail).

The Bottom Line

It’s important to remember that being free on bail is not the same as being free. Because it is in the public interest that you face the charges against you conditions will be imposed on your release. Whether you will be able to travel or not will be up to the judge and, to some extent, to the bail agent who posted your bond. If either one has imposed travel restrictions on you it would be unwise in the extreme to ignore those restrictions. For more information contact the pros at Rapid Release Bail Bonds today.