What happens to a bail bondif a person fails to appear in court?

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What happens to a bail bondif a person fails to appear in court?

My son, 18, was in jail for trafficking. The judge set a bond. So I put my house up and some money. Now he left the house and I’m afraid about what will happen if he fails to appear on his court date. What happen with my house and money?

Asked on August 22, 2010 under Criminal Law, Georgia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In the event  that a defendant “skips out” on bail, the court will send a notice to the bail bond agency and/or their insurance company notifying them that the defendant has failed to appear. Usually the court will give the agency several days to contact the defendant to allow the defendant to go to the court to “get things straightened out” (and possibly a small fine will be charged).  If the defendant does not go to the court within this period however, the court will issue a “bench warrant” for the defendant’s arrest and  the bail bond agency will forfeit the bail put up and and collect on the amount of full the bail bond.  In other words, both your money and home will be taken to satisfy the bail amount. 

Note:  At that point the defendant is considered to be  “fugitive”.  A “bounty hunter” may then go after the defendant to try and bring him in (not to mention that a warrant  for the defendant’s arrest will be issued and the he police will be looking as well).

Try as best as you can to get your son to appear on the specified date.

 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, the bond is forfeit to the state; it is  the threat of losing the bond, after all, that puts "teeth" into bail. There are circumstances where  they may not happen--such as if the failure to appear is beyond the defendant's control (to use an extreme and dramatic example, he is in a coma somewhere), but there are very much the exception. If you son does not show, therefore, you stand to lose your home and your money. It is very much in your interest, therefore, to do everything you can to make sure that your son appears--even it involves hiring detectives or other parties to keep track of him and make sure that he shows up.


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