Bail Forfeiture: What does it Mean?

When asking the question “What does bail forfeiture mean?” you need to understand the meaning of a forfeiture, as it relates to the bail bond process. A bail forfeiture occurs when a criminal defendant fails to meet their obligation to appear in court, or fails to comply with the conditions of their bond. Once a bail bond has been forfeited, state laws require that notification of forfeiture be sent to the surety (bail bonds agent) and the defendant. The bail bonds agent can then produce the defendant, provide the court with an acceptable excuse for the defendant’s failure to meet their obligations, pay the forfeited bond amount, or face consequences for non-payment. Most states provide specific time frames and/or grace periods between when they must respond before judgment on the bond becomes final, and when the surety is notified that the defendant has been arrested.

There are defenses to forfeiture where state laws allow sureties the opportunity to defend the non-appearance of the defendant or produce them in court. There are however, measures of judicial discretion when determining whether an excuse for non-appearance is reasonable. Depending on what state your case is in, some of the acceptable excuses for failing to comply with these obligations may include confinement in a detention facility, deportation, or by reason of physical or mental incapacity.

In some cases, where a defendant misses his or her court date, the judge may order a bond forfeiture hearing. At this point the judge with make a determination as to whether the defendant had a good reason or just cause for failing to appear in court. If the judge determines that the cause was not “just cause” for missing their court date, he or she will typically issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest by a specific date. If the defendant still cannot be located by this specific date, the court will move forward with issuing a bond forfeiture.

 

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FAQ


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When an individual is arrested for a crime in the State of Florida, typically that person will be taken to jail for booking. Once in custody the process of release can take several hours. Finding information about your loved one can be frustrating and difficult. The agents at Above All Bail Bonds are available 24 hours a day to assist you in every step. Just call 844.755.2245

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A Surety Bond more commonly known as a (Bail Bond) involves a relative or friend contacting a bail agent. A Bail Agent is a licensed agent backed by an insurance company. When a bondsman posts bail, they are pledging the full amount of bail, guaranteed by an insurance company having adequate assets to satisfy the face value of the bond. A Bail Bond is the safest form of bail.

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For this service, the defendant is charged a premium (10% of the bail amount in Florida). For example, if the bail amount is $10,000.00, the premium charged is $1,000.00. All bondmen are required by law to charge 10% unless the full amount of the bond is less than $1,000.00; in that case the fee is $100.00. For example, if the bail amount is $750.00, the premium charged is $100.00. Convenient payment arrangements available!

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The 10% premium is fully earned once the bail bond is posted with a jail or court. This fee is non-refundable once the case is completed.

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Collateral is anything of value used to financially secure a bail bond. Collateral is often not necessary and is factored on a case by case basis. Some examples of collateral include a signature from a qualified indemnitor, credit cards, houses, cars, boats, jewelry.

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Once your case is completed and our agency receives notice from the court, we will return all collateral in a timely fashion. By Florida Law all collateral must be returned within 21 days after the bond has been discharged.
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The Indemnitor is a family member or friend who makes an agreement with the surety to secure any loss. They are responsible for the full amount of the bond if the defendant fails to appear in court.
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After a defendant is booked into a county jail, it usually takes anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to be released on bail. We wish we could speed up the process but county jails operate at their own pace. Above All Bail Bonds does everything possible to expedite the defendant’s release. Let us assure you we will be by your side every step of the way.

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Revoking a bond, although possible in most cases, is generally not recommended unless you are concerned that there is a strong possibility the defendant will fail to show up for scheduled court dates. You will lose your premium and could incur other fees. If you used a Bondsman, the terms for revoking your bond will depend upon the language used in the contract/surety agreement you signed. If it contains language that allows you to notify the bondsman that you no longer wish your collateral to be at risk, then yes, you may revoke. You will need to contact your bail bondsman for details on this process and whether or not you would be eligible to revoke your bond.
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If you are trying to find a loved one or family member and you believe they may have been arrested, we can help. Visit our inmate search page for more information or call one of our inmate search specialist: 844-755-2245
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If you believe you have a warrant, we will perform a warrant search for you and help you with the entire process. Call us now: 844-755-2245