If I bailed my boyfriend out on for a DWI but he missed his court date, what can the bonding company do to us?

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If I bailed my boyfriend out on for a DWI but he missed his court date, what can the bonding company do to us?

It was his first DWI. He missed his court date and because of that he has forfeited his bond. Now the bonding company is calling me for the balance of $865. They say that if I don’t pay it the balance will increase and they can take it put of my tax refund. They are also saying my boyfriend can go to jail for 2 years. Can they really take money out of my return? Also, can my boyfriend go to jail for 2 years for bail forfeiture even tho this was his first DWI?

Asked on November 7, 2015 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You are only contractually obligated to pay what your contract with the bonding company was.  Most agreements are that the bondsman will continue to vouch for a defendant until they fail to appear.  Once they fail to appear, then whoever signed the contract for the bond is required to pay whatever the contract provided for -- which could be the balance of the initial bond. 
If you or your boyfriend fail to pay, then they will "go off the bond", which means the judge will require your boyfriend to post a new bond with a different bondsman.  Their remedy is limited to the contract and a motion to get off of the bond.
They do not have the authority to garnish income taxes.  They are not the prosecutor.  The prosecutor and the judge/jury will decide (1) if your boyfriend is guilty of anything and (2) if so, how long they will serve in jai.  Whether you pay their fee or not will have no effect on this determination. 
The offense that you the bondsman is referring to is called "bail jumping" or "failure to appear"-- if you boyfriend was on bond for a misdemeanor offense, then this charge will be another misdemeanor, not a felony.  Which means the max time in jail is up to one year.  (A felony would be longer).  That is not to say, however, that your boyfriend has or will be prosecuted for this offense-- because again-- this is a decision to be made by the prosecutor or judge/jury. 
You really need to get his defense attorney involved to help resolve the issues on the criminal side.  On the bonding side... find a new bondsman.  If this ones continues to threaten to garnish your income tax or other things that are not covered within the contract, then try to record the threats and file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General for a Deceptive Trade Practices Act Violation.  The crux of the complaint is that he is making false threats to collect on an account.


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