A bond forfeiture occurs when a defendant fails to appear at a scheduled court date, and the company or person who put up the bond must pay the defendant’s outstanding, non-refundable bail amount.

Surety Notification

The court will send a notice to the defendant and the surety (most likely a bail bondsman) and/or their insurance company notifying them that the defendant has failed to appear and the amount of bond to be forfeited. Once the surety is notified, they can either produce the defendant, provide the court with an acceptable excuse for the defendant’s missed court appearance, pay the forfeited bond, or face non-payment consequences. Sometimes the defendant or bail bondsman is given a chance to explain the reason the defendant missed the court appearance and possibly avoid the forfeiture. These reasons sometimes include a defendant’s illness, death, an act of God, physical or mental incapacity, confinement in a detention facility, and deportation.

Time Frame

Before a forfeiture becomes final, the court may give the bail bond agent a few days to contact the defendant and persuade them to come to court. As long as the defendant is returned to court custody before a bond forfeiture is finalized, the company is generally not required to pay the bond. If the defendant still fails to appear at court within this period, the court usually issues a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest and continues proceedings with the bail bond agency for forfeiture of the full amount of the bond. Once a bond forfeiture has been ordered, if a defendant or the defendant’s friends or family have put up collateral to secure a bond, the collateral can be sold to obtain cash to pay the bond.

Additional Charges and Consequences:

Bond forfeiture is a federal violation of a release condition. A defendant will usually faces other consequences for missing a court date, such as being charged with the crime of jumping bail, additional jail time, and hefty fines. Also, the bail bond company may attempt to recover any costs associated with locating and delivering the defendant to law enforcement.

If you have bailed a person out and they have skipped bail, it is always in your and their best interest to get them back to court. It will save you money from any collateral being sold that you may have put up for the defendant. It is also important to consider the fact that fugitives are more likely to jeopardize the safety of themselves and others in their attempts to avoid capture. It is for the defendant’s own well being and that of innocent bystanders, that you should do everything possible to convince the defendant to meet with the bail agency representatives or to help the bail bond agents locate and return the defendant to custody.

If you need a bail bond company in Gwinnett County then call us today!