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Man flees sentencing for misdemeanor charge, promptly returned

A man from the southern U.S. who decided to skip out on a sentencing hearing in Bay City, Michigan, has been returned to the jurisdiction after running afoul of his bail bondsmen. The man, a Florida resident, was accused of larceny by conversion for allegedly stealing his mother-in-law's vehicle. That misdemeanor charge would have only led to a maximum $1,000 fine and a year's worth of probation. In exchange for a no-contest plea, prosecutors agreed to drop a more severe version of the charge that could have led to a $20,000 fine.

Instead of sticking around for a sentencing hearing, however, the man failed to appear. Kozy Bail Bonds, the company that had bailed him out of jail, would have forfeited $10,000 if the man failed to return. Months later, the bond company located the man in Florida and contracted with another agency to retrieve the defendant. In all, the bond company paid about $2,500 to retrieve the man from his southern home. The company plans to pursue restitution from the man when he is sentenced later in January.

Legal experts in the case say they are confused about the man's decision to abscond on the misdemeanor charge, which would have only involved probation and a relatively minor fine. Now, the man could face more serious financial consequences because of his decision to flee the state.

The man was initially charged with theft after his mother-in-law reported her vehicle missing - he had borrowed the car to travel to Georgia to look for work. The vehicle was reported stolen from Bay City in 2010, and it was located in August 2011. Investigators arraigned the man in July in the Bay County District Court.

Criminal defendants who are facing misdemeanor charges may want to consult a qualified criminal defense attorney to learn more about the implications of the criminal charges. This man may not have understood the relatively minor nature of the sentencing agreement that had been reached with prosecutors, making him more likely to flee before sentencing. A criminal defense attorney can educate defendants about their rights, allowing them to make the best decisions for their individual cases.

Source: M Live, "Man who jumped bail in Bay County after pleading no contest to misdemeanor caught by bondsman in Florida, returned to Michigan" Cole Waterman, Jan. 06, 2014

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