You came to North Carolina to relax and unwind, but things got a little out of control. Maybe you got into an altercation with someone at a bar, or maybe you got caught with drugs in your pocket. Bail got you out of jail, but can it allow you to go back to your home state while you’re awaiting trial?
The wheels of justice do tend to move fairly slowly, and there could be a lot of time between now and the resolution of your case. If this is your first run-in with the law, it’s easy to get confused about your rights and obligations. Here’s what you need to know:
Bail usually comes with restrictions
The first thing you need to find out is what restrictions have been placed on your bail. Bail is essentially an attempt to balance the idea that you’re “innocent until proven guilty” with the government’s interest in keeping the public safe and making sure that you show back up for court when required.
With that in mind, judges can and do impose restrictions on people who are on bail. Depending on your situation, you may be required to surrender any weapons you have, abstain from alcohol or drugs and – most critically – stay within a certain geographical area.
If that’s a condition of your bail, you have to seek the court’s permission before you can leave the state. If you don’t, you’ll quickly find a new warrant out for your arrest and you’ll probably end up forfeiting your bond.
It’s often possible to negotiate an agreement with the court that will let you get back to your home, your family and your job while your case is pending. Experienced legal guidance can help you figure out the options.