Law and Legal
Is Traveling Allowed if You’re Released on Bail?
Getting arrested for a crime can upset a lot of your plans, especially if you’re not guilty and you have been living your life as if nothing was the matter. During the peak vacation season, most people opt to travel somewhere outside their place of residence.
However, if you’ve been arrested for a crime, there’s a good chance that you will sit in the county jail until your court day. That is, unless you choose to post bail. Most people who post bail do so through a bail bonding agency, which requires only a fraction of the full bail amount.
We reached out to Bail Co Bail Bonds agents who told us how being released from jail on bail can affect your travel plans and how to proceed with that.
Be Careful of the Wording the Judge Uses
First of all, you need to be sure about the specifics of your case, and of your jail release conditions. If the judge releases you on bail, technically, you’re not free yet. All bail is, is the proof of confidence that the judicial system has in you to actually show up when they need you in court.
In this case, there are several limiting factors which will affect your life until your guilt or innocence are proven in court. One of those factors may be restricting your traveling capabilities. In some instances, the court might take away your passport to ensure you don’t leave the country, but your travel restrictions may be even more local than that.
Movement Restrictions of Your Bail Contract
Getting released on bail is, in most cases, the best option when you’re accused of a crime. In some instances, the court might let you leave jail even without bail, but those are reserved for the light misdemeanor crimes.
If you are released on bail, though, you will have to sign a contract where you essentially agree to certain terms in exchange for your temporary release from jail. The travel restriction clause is very common, but the specificity of the clause may differ, depending on several factors. Most bail agreements state that you can’t leave the country (hence the passport seizure). But, it can be even more specific than that – barring you from leaving the state, county, or even the city where you were arrested and where the trial is to be held.
Important Factors When Determining the Travel Restrictions
Seeing how determining the bail amount is largely left to the judge presiding over your case, so too are most of the other parts of the bail agreement. When it comes to travel restrictions, it is always a good idea to ask about them outright. However, here is a general breakdown of the factors that may affect the judge when determining your travel restrictions.
The severity of your crime is perhaps the most important factor for all things bail related, including whether you will be released on bail in the first place, as well as whether you’ll be permitted to travel.
Similarly, your criminal record is a relevant factor. If you’re a first-time offender for a minor crime, chances are that the travel restrictions won’t be drastic. However, if you’re a repeat offender, you’re likely to stay put where you are.
Finally, your travel destination can make a difference. A trip to the next town or state for a few days is much more likely to be approved than a month-long vacation to a foreign country.
Each bail case is different, so make sure you mention any travel plans you have to both the judge and your bail bondsman – they might be able to fight on your behalf.