It’s a difficult worst-case scenario, but the subject of bail bond forfeiture is definitely something that you should be aware of so that you can avoid hefty penalties. Missing scheduled court dates or failure to meet pre-trial bond conditions are the usual reasons for bail bond forfeiture.
You do not want to be put in the position of bond forfeiture in the state of Texas, since a warrant will be issued for your arrest. It is highly advisable to attend all scheduled court dates, and if this is not possible for any reason, you should immediately notify your bail bondsman and the courts.
The consequences of bail bond forfeiture are severe: After you are arrested again, you may lose your bond, and you will likely spend your time while awaiting your trial in jail. This is why you should learn as much as possible on the subject in order to avoid common pitfalls and for you to know what to do if this occurs.
What Is a Forfeited Bail Bond?
In criminal cases, when someone does not show up for a scheduled court appearance, or fails to fulfill other expected responsibilities, it leads to bail bond forfeiture. It can also occur in civil cases if there is “non-performance” of an obligation that was clearly established beforehand.
The judge will usually create a list of conditions that the defendant must follow before the trial. These may involve reporting to the probation department or other conditions such as a curfew, not being able to drink alcohol, being prohibited from using drugs, not carrying weapons, needing to maintain employment, not associating with persons of ill repute, or not traveling out of the state or country without permission.
If you paid the full amount of bail, you will be forfeiting your bond. However, if a bail bondsman guaranteed the bond, then they are now responsible and will lose their bail bond.
What Happens When a Bond Is Forfeited?
A bond that is forfeited becomes property of the respective jurisdiction that is overseeing the case. If a bail bondsman has guaranteed the bond, then they are usually responsible for paying the entire fee.
There will also be an arrest warrant issued by the court after a bond is forfeited. When the defendant is arrested again, if they are even eligible for bail, conditions set will be much higher than before.
If you have a surety bail that you received through a bail bondsman, then you need to be aware of the conditions. If the bail bond is forfeited, then the money will not be refunded. You may have to pay the bail bondsman the full amount of the bond. If you put up collateral like a car or property title, then your assets could be liquidated or you could be put on a payment schedule until the debt is repaid.
What Happens to Forfeited Bail Money?
In the case where a surety bond has been put up by a bail bondsman, generally, the state will give the bondsman a week in order to find their client.
If the client cannot be located, there may be a hearing scheduled for bond forfeiture. Remember that the courts have the option of rescinding the bail bond forfeiture. It all depends on the defendant’s circumstances surrounding the failure to appear for a scheduled court appearance.
The main defenses for failure to appear in court are:
- The defendant did not get proper notice of the scheduled court appearance.
- The defendant had a previously scheduled court appearance.
- The defendant experienced either a serious illness or an accident.
- There was a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado, flood, or earthquake.
- Death of a family member.
Even if you do not meet any of these criteria, you may still be able to explain your absence from court as long as you take steps to resolve the forfeited bail bond.
What Is a Notice of Bond Forfeiture?
If a hearing is scheduled for bond forfeiture, a notice will be sent to the defendant to let them know about the hearing. The defendant can attend the forfeiture hearing.
How to Resolve a Forfeited Bond in Tarrant County?
The best resolution for a forfeited bond in Tarrant County is simple: Call your bail bondsman and contact the court right away. The faster you are in undertaking this action, the better the prognosis for your case will be.
Consider that if you do not communicate with your bondsman and the court, not only will the arrest warrant with your name on it remain active, but that when you are taken back into custody, there will be severe consequences. You will likely not be eligible for bail and you will also likely have to remain incarcerated during the period preceding the date of your trial. Remember that being stuck in jail is not the ideal way to prepare for a case—never mind the fact that jail is an unpleasant place to be.
If you undertake steps to communicate your situation with your bondsman and the court, you have options. There is the possibility of having your court date rescheduled. Furthermore, the bail bond forfeiture could be rescinded.
Contact the Experts at PCS Bail Bonds
Are you or a loved one facing bail bond forfeiture in Tarrant County, Texas? If so, then you will want to get in touch with experts who have experience dealing with the court system. This is where a bail bondsman can help you get back on track.
PCS Bail Bonds can help, as our staff are well-versed in local laws. Our expert bail bondsmen are always on-call and we can be down to the jail in as little as 30 minutes. Our affordable rates are also 10% lower than the competition. To learn more about our cheap bail bonds in Tarrant County, Texas, contact us now by phone at 817-335-1655, at our e-mail, visit in-person, or fill out our bail bond request form.
Photo Credit: istock.com/LucidSurf
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