Cruises are popular ways to enjoy a vacation. As many as 20 million people go on a cruise each year, visiting places as cold as Alaska or as warm as the Caribbean. In fact, about 40% of cruises from the United States go to the Caribbean Islands. Unfortunately, for people who have been arrested and are awaiting their trial, the only two places they will get to go is jail and the court room—that is, unless they can be released on a bail bond. If you’ve recently been released on bail, you may be wondering if you can go on a cruise while on bond. It can be a little complicated. Here’s what you need to know about whether people on bond can go on cruises and what restrictions and rules apply to your situation.
What Are the Rules for Traveling with Pending Criminal Charges?
When you are arrested, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Felonies are far more serious and require a longer prison sentence if you are found guilty. Misdemeanors can still be serious situations, resulting in a criminal record, fines, and even jail time, but they do not carry the same legal weight. Understanding which of these two crimes you have been charged with is vital to finding out whether you can travel while out on bond. You may be free to travel within the U.S. with a misdemeanor charge, but there may be travel restrictions in place if you are facing a felony charge.
You may need to stay within the jurisdiction where the case is pending, as your departure could signal to the authorities, your bail bond agent, and the court that you are a flight risk. In some cases, if you are caught traveling outside the restricted region prior to your trial, you could be taken into custody when arrested and required to stay in jail without a second bail release. It is not worth taking this chance, even if your trial date is a long time away.
However, if you are permitted to go on a cruise or travel while on bond, here’s what you need to know about the types of cruises that may apply to you.
Type of Cruises
The first aspect to consider when considering whether a defendant can go on a cruise is the type they are interested in. There are two types of cruises: closed loop and open loop. A closed loop cruise begins and ends at the same U.S. port. For example, it may begin in Miami, travel to Jamaica and Bermuda, and return to Miami at the end. An open loop cruise, however, has different locations for the start and finish.
U.S. citizens that take a closed loop cruise can leave and enter the country with proof of citizenship (original or copy of birth certificate and a government issued photo identification). Open loop cruises require a passport, often in case people miss the embarking of the ship and need to fly ahead to meet the ship at the next port.
If the bail bond freedoms allow the defendant to go on a cruise, they should bring their passport. This is in case of misconduct on the cruise or in a foreign port that requires legal intervention.
Having a Visa
Another aspect to consider is that the requirement to enter a foreign country is usually with an entrance visa, as well as the qualifications for defendants to enter that country. They must have this visa on hand, even if they plan to stay on the ship when it docks in different ports. Although it might be their way of avoiding the requirements of obtaining a visa, they need one as each port may ask to see it from any guest. Defendants must remember to check out the requirements for obtaining an entrance visa if they plan to go on a cruise, but they also need to check with the judge or court to ensure that their bail bond agreement allows for travel outside the area.
What Are the Restricted Ports?
Defendants also need to consider that they may not be allowed to go on cruises that originate at a Canadian port, or sail on cruises that visit the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, or other countries due to their restrictions against people out on bail. Being aware of these essential factors before setting up a cruise is vital to ensure you are allowed to board the ship. Money may not be refunded if you show up on the boarding date and are prevented from boarding.
Let PCS Bail Bonds Help You
If you go through the process of getting bail after being arrested, it’s worth your while to understand the state laws and the restrictions of your bail bond agreement. Violating this agreement can lead to serious consequences and you may put your loved one out of money if they posted bail for you and (because of your actions) cannot get it back. Additionally, when considering bail, you should seek the services of a licensed and experienced bail bond company. They will help you understand all your rights and requirements, so you don’t make a mistake that gets you in trouble.
PCS Bail Bonds can help you if you need to post bail or need advice about your situation. We provide 24-hour bail bonds for misdemeanors and felony charges including theft, drug possession, embezzlement, assault, and more. Our experienced bail bondsmen can help you get a bond quickly, so you spend as little time in jail as possible. Our bond agents are always on call, so when you get a hold of us, we can be down to your jail in a half an hour. We serve clients in several municipalities in Tarrant County, and Fort Worth.