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Bail Forfeiture Explained

Bail assignment is something that occurs from time to time when a judge feels as if a defendant poses a risk.

The judge examines the defendant’s background during the booking process and makes a bail decision based on his or her findings. The judge examines details such as the defendant’s criminal history, the nature of the crime and the person’s history with bails. Serious crimes, long criminal history sheets and past incidents of bail skipping or bail hopping will almost certainly receive a bail assessment from the local judge. Bail forfeiture occurs when the defendant does not show up for court after he or she gets out of jail on a bail payment.

The Bail Bond Process

The bail bond process begins when the defendant or someone who cares about the defendant, requests a bail bond company to front the funds so that the defendant can get out of jail. The bail bond company may have a pre-approval process, or it may request the applicant to come into an office. Some bail bond companies process phone applications for defendants who cannot make personal visits.

The bail bond expert asks the applicant a series of questions about the defendant and himself or herself. The person will want to know which jail the defendant is in, what crime that person committed, and how that person’s record looks. The bail bondsman may also ask some financial questions to decide whether he or she can help the applicant or not. The bail bond company may ask for collateral from a person who has issues, for example. Collateral may be a home deed, a car title, stocks, bonds and the like. Otherwise, the bail bond company may just take a 10 percent down payment and help the applicant. The time it takes bail bondsmen to free defendants varies from several hours to several days.

What a Bail Bond Company Expects

A bail bond company expects the defendant to show up in court on the date the judge orders. Failure to do such results in the bail bond company losing its money. Interested parties who put up their houses and cars may lose those items, as well.

What Happens When a Defendant Skips Bail?

Bail forfeiture is not just detrimental to the bail bond company and the interested parties. It is an offense that can get the defendant additional jail time. The judge may issue an immediate warrant for contempt of court. The person may have to pay fines, and the punishment for skipping bail may be severe depending on the original charge. Furthermore, the bail bond company may send bounty hunters to look for the defendant. That deepens on the state that the defendant is in.

Bail forfeiture can be costly, damaging and timely. Family members may lose their homes. Bail bond companies will lose their respect. Defendants will have a difficult time getting help after forfeiting bail. It’s best for a defendant to show up in court on the proper date.

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