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Bail jumping, a significant legal issue under Washington State law, is meticulously outlined in RCW 9A.76.170. This statute provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the obligations of individuals released on bail and the consequences of failing to adhere to court mandates. Whether you’re a legal professional, a law student, or someone navigating the bail process, grasping the intricacies of this law is crucial.

What Constitutes Bail Jumping?

Under RCW 9A.76.170, a person commits bail jumping by failing to appear for a trial or surrender for service of sentence as required, after being:

  • Released by court order or admitted to bail.
  • Notified in writing about the need for subsequent personal appearances before any court in Washington State or to report to a correctional facility for sentence service.

The law distinguishes between general offenses and those involving violent or sex offenses, with specific stipulations for individuals facing charges in these categories, emphasizing the gravity of such cases.

Bail jumping charges vary based on the severity of the underlying offense:

  • Class A Felony: For individuals held, charged, or convicted of first-degree murder.
  • Class B Felony: Applies to those held, charged, or convicted of any Class A felony other than first-degree murder.
  • Class C Felony: For individuals held, charged, or convicted of Class B or C felonies.
  • Misdemeanor: If the person was held, charged, or convicted of a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor.

These classifications underscore the state’s commitment to ensuring accountability and maintaining the integrity of the judicial process.

Defenses to Bail Jumping

The statute also acknowledges “uncontrollable circumstances” as an affirmative defense to bail jumping, provided the individual did not contribute to these circumstances through negligence and made an effort to appear or surrender as soon as possible. This provision ensures fairness, recognizing that unforeseen situations can impede compliance with court orders.

For legal professionals and students, RCW 9A.76.170 offers critical insights into the nuances of bail law and the responsibilities of those released under court supervision. Understanding this statute is essential for advising clients accurately and navigating the complexities of criminal defense.

The general public, especially those navigating the bail system, must comprehend the serious implications of bail jumping. Awareness of the legal responsibilities and potential penalties is vital for making informed decisions and upholding the law.


RCW 9A.76.170 provides a clear legal framework for bail jumping in Washington State, emphasizing the importance of adhering to court orders. By understanding this statute, individuals can better navigate the legal system, while legal professionals can offer more effective counsel to their clients. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, staying informed about such critical statutes remains paramount for all stakeholders in the judicial process.

You can read the text of RCW 9A.76.170 here:

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About Blanford Law:

We are no-nonsense, relentless, fair, and honest. We are great listeners instead of fast talkers, that is just who we are. More than 20 years ago, Ken began practicing law with a deeply-seeded belief that every person has the right to the best legal representation available. He built his law firm on that belief. Another belief that he strongly adheres to is his fundamental belief that clients deserve respect, with no assumptions or preconceived notions.  If you or someone you know is accused of a crime or injured as a result of the negligence of another, please have them call us at 253-720-9304 or email us