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What happens when you skip out on a felony dwi bond from Texas?

Denton, TX |

My cousin was arrested for a felony dwi in texas. They got bailed out then left the state. They are refusing to come back but are worried that a bounty hunter will come and pick them up. How do I convince them to come back and turn themself in.

Attorney Answers 4


A bounty hunger might get him. Or, when he gets stopped on a traffic stop, he will be arrested and then extradited to Texas. Or, when he goes to get a driver's license or ID, he will be arrested and then extradicted. It is not smart to skip out on a bond, and even less smart to continue to run.

Your cousin need to hire a lawyer in the county in which he has the DWI and turn himself in. The lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutors for them not to file additional charges of bond jumping - another felony.

Also, if it is only his 3rd DWI (and it has to be at least his 3rd to be a felony), then the lawyer may be able to work the case out as a misdemeanor rather than a felony which means some jail time rather than prison. (It is not likely he will get a probation offer since he absconded on bond. He is obviously a flight risk.)

If your cousin is arrested and extradicted, the prosecutors may well prosecute him for felony bond jumping. In addition, they will be tougher on punishment than if he were to turn himself in. Finally, he will save significant money because the extradition fee are significant - in the thousands of dollars.

While out on the run, your cousin might get himself some help for his alcohol addiction. This will also help his case. At a minimum, he should be attending AA daily and getting proof.

Although I have answered the question to try to help you, you should consult with a lawyer in your area in person on the matter. In addition, my answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us.

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Well, he's now got a felony DWI charge AND a failure to appear felony charge. It sure looks like he was guilty of the felony DWI if he jumped bail so it going to be hard to fight.

Your best argument for your cousin is that he will likely get caught when he least expects it. If he is arrested for any reason (even if its just a bar brawl or being pulled over for outstanding traffic warrants he didn't even remember existed), he'll be fingerprinted and it will be discoved via his fingerprints (even if he is under a new assumed name in a different state to avoid the law) and he'll be extradicted back to Texas to face his demons. I've had many clients that jumped bailed, moved to Mexico or California or Florida or Pennsylvania--used different names--and got caught up to 10 years later and brought back to Texas. They ALL wound up in prison because jumping bail is indicative of guilt on the initial charge.

My advise is for him to contact a lawyer, determine if they can formulate a good argument for the bail jumping, have his attorney try to work out a bail with the prosecutor/court prior to your cousin getting caught so he can fight both charges--but be out on bond while his cases are pending. He will get caught. Living in fear everytime he sees a police car is just not worth it. He needs to man up and be accountable/responsible for his actions. Felony DWIs are many times probated sentences. He is screwing up by running. Only cowards run. If he throws himself on the mercy of the court and acknowledges he has a drinking problem but is otherwise a very nice/good person who can contribute to society better on the outside, the court may be lenient. I've seen 5th DWIs get probated sentences with the proper graveling to the court. That bail jumping is a hurdle but not insurmountable.

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Tellin the case is not going away. Unless he wants to live as a fugitive and on the run for the rest of his life he needs to get this cleared up.

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It is very frightening to be charged with a felony that carries up to 10 years in prison. So, it is understandable someone would panic in this situation. Eventually he will get caught and it can be even worse on him than if he simply turns himself in. If he does not turn himself in and is caught by law enforcement or a bounty hunter he could have additional charges brought against him which brings more jail time.

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