Can I Leave The Country If I Have A Pending Trial Date?

By Jay White

June 7, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

The existing workload of the court overseeing your case and the seriousness will determine how soon your case will be tried. Depending on these two factors, you could have months or years after your arraignment date before you set foot back into a courtroom. During this waiting period, the conditions of your bail will set your geographical movements and financial decisions. Regardless of your reason for wanting to leave the country, your ability to do so will hinge on the laws governing bail in your jurisdiction, the type of crime with which you have been charged and the personal inclinations of the judge responsible for your case.

If you have been charged with a financial transgression such as embezzlement or a violent crime like murder or rape, the court may be more likely to view you as a flight risk, or someone who can reasonably be expected to flee your city. In particular, someone charged with embezzlement may find it relatively easy to skip town if he or she has ample offshore assets, and a serious crime like a rape or murder arguably alters the individual’s risk-reward calculations, making a flight more likely.

You may face travel restrictions as a condition of your bail if your presiding judge deems you to be a flight risk. Travel restrictions can range from relatively lenient restrictions on international travel in some cases to full house arrest in extreme situations. In some cases, you might be asked to surrender your passport until your trial.

On the other hand, if there are no travel restrictions, you are not considered to be a flight risk. However, keep in mind that you will most likely not be able to have free roam of the world. You will need to be present for several scheduled hearings between your arraignment date and the start date of your trial, and you will also need to check in with your bail supervisor or probation officer from time to time. He or she may even show up unannounced at your residence or business, and if you’re absent from any drop-in or meeting, you may face flight charges, and your bail may be revoked.

Ask your attorney to inform the presiding judge of your plans to leave the country, and make sure you provide evidence and solid support for your reason to do so. If you can prove that you have business interests or family members overseas and you have a legitimate reason for fleeing the country, so long as there are no travel restrictions as a condition of your bail, the judge should theoretically permit you to leave.

Jay White

I started Dumb Little Man many years ago so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!

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