25 Apr What Happens If The Defendant Doesn’t Appear For Their Court Date After They Were Bailed Out?
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Let’s say your friend or family member was arrested, and you worked with a bail bondsman to get them out of jail with the understanding that he or she would make their court date. As the signer or co-signer of the bond, you’re taking responsibility for the defendant to show up for each of their required court appearances.
But then let’s say they don’t show up to court. They’ve decided to skip it. What happens next?
Unfortunately, in the event of a skipped court appearance on the part of the defendant, the bail bond will be in default, and you’ll be at risk to lose all of the money you put up to bail them out. You’ll also be at risk to lose any collateral you used to secure the bond.
What Is The Process?
In most states, the court will send a notice to the bail bond agency to alert them that the defendant has failed to appear at court, and that the bond is now in default. Sometimes there’s a grace period, but this will be up to the court and will depend on the track record of the defendant.
A bench warrant will be issued for their arrest, with additional charges added for them skipping their court date.
Once the arrest is made, the defendant is, at that point, ineligible for bail.
Fugitive Recovery Agents
A fugitive recovery agent (more commonly known as a bounty hunter) may be hired to track down the defendant and return them to custody.
In California, a bail bondsman typically has six months to find and return the defendant. If the defendant is not found in the timeframe, you will be responsible for paying not only the full amount of the bond, but also any additional expenses and any unpaid premiums.
If the defendant is returned to custody by a fugitive recovery agent/bounty hunter, you can fill out the necessary paperwork to get your bond out of default.
What Happens to Your Money?
Unfortunately, if the defendant isn’t found and returned to custody, the cash or collateral that you put up for your friend or family member to bail them out will be forfeited to the court, and you will not get anything back, despite the outcome of the case.
Do Not Hide the Defendant
It’s important to be aware during this time of the defendant’s “disappearance” that he or she may attempt to have you hide them from the authorities. This is a difficult situation, but know that this is very illegal and could get you into trouble with the law yourself. If this does happen, a good idea is to get in touch with your bail bondsman. We will know how to help.
This is why it’s important that you understand what you’re signing up for when you post a bail bond for someone. It could end up being a very expensive or serious situation for you.
Do you have more questions about bail bonds? If so, please contact us to learn more. We’re here 24/7 for bail emergencies involving your loved ones.