When you are arrested, you have the option of posting a bail bond to be released, pending the hearing and determination of your case. If you fail to honor the court dates, the court will hold your bail amount instead of releasing it to you after your trial. This is what is referred to as bail forfeiture.
There are two kinds of bail forfeitures:
- Voluntary bail forfeiture
- Involuntary bail forfeiture
Voluntary bail forfeiture
Voluntary bail forfeiture occurs when the defendant requests the court to use the bail amount they posted to pay for court fees and fines.
Involuntary bail forfeiture
Before you are set free on bail, the court will direct you to appear before it on specified dates. If you fail to honor the court dates, it results in involuntary bail forfeiture. You will lose your bail amount, and an arrest warrant will be issued against you. Once arrested, you will find it hard to get another bail bond because you breached the court conditions.
Offenses that are bail forfeitable
Depending on the state you are coming from, you may be granted bail if arrested. The crimes that are bail forfeitable include traffic offenses and misdemeanor cases.
A bail bondsman and bail forfeiture
If you can’t raise the bail amount required for your release, you can contact a bail bond agent for help. The bail bond company will post bail to enable your quick release from jail. However, if you fail to honor court dates, the bondsman will forfeit the bail amount. The bondsman may decide to sue you for the loss. Alternatively, the bail bondsman will request the court to delay the forfeiture to give them time to find you and bring you to court.
The bail bond company will use a bounty hunter to locate you. Bounty hunters use excessive force when hunting for fugitive defendants. You will then be hauled to court to face your trial and new charges. This way, a licensed bail bonds company doesn’t lose the bail bond amount.