If you have been arrested and released on bail in Texas, you are required by law to appear at all schedule court hearings. Even if you don’t have to post bail to secure your release, if you fail to appear, you can be charged with a criminal offense under Section 38.10 of the Texas Penal Code. This blog post sets forth the provisions of the Texas statutes governing bail jumping and failure to appear, as well as potential defenses you may assert. If you have been charged with bail jumping and failure to appear, you want an experienced lawyer to protect your rights.
At The Law Office of Kevin Clancy & The Law Office of Tim Clancy, our attorneys have nearly 50 years of combined criminal law experience, protecting the rights of people across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Kevin Clancy, a former prosecutor, has firsthand knowledge of the methods by which the state gathers evidence and prepares a criminal case. We can anticipate their actions and help you take preemptive measures to protect your rights.
The Texas Laws on Bail Jumping and Failure to Appear
In Texas, if you have been lawfully released from custody, with or without bail, you must appear in court in compliance with the terms of your release. If you intentionally or knowingly fail to appear, you can be charged with bail jumping or failure to appear under Section 38.10. In most instances, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, with the possibility of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. If the offense that you were originally charged with was punishable by a fine only, you may only be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. If, however, the offense with which you were charged was a felony, your failure to appear will also be charged as a felony.
Defenses You Can Raise
The statute includes two specific defenses to a charge of bail jumping or failure to appear:
- You can assert that the appearance was incident to parole, community supervision or an intermittent sentence.
- You can argue that you had a reasonable excuse for your failure to appear, such as hospitalization or the breakdown of your vehicle on the way to the hearing.
In addition to the statutory defenses, you can also argue lack of intent or lack of knowledge, but you must provide proof that you reasonably lacked knowledge or intent.
Contact Our Office
For a confidential consultation with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney, contact us online at or call 214-740-9955.
Attorney Kevin Clancy is AV-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating system.