What happens if a defendant misses court?

If your friend skips bail and can’t be found, you are liable for the entire bond, but read out how to get out of paying the bondsman

This question was posted to one of our bail bonds agents about the possibility of the defendant skipping bail and what, if any, of the legal issues or payments will be on the shoulders of the co-signor. He forwarded the bail question and his reply to us. So what happens if a defendant misses court, read more below:

Q: I’m a co-signer for a friend and family member. What happens if a defendant misses court? If that person misses court because they ran away do I have to pay you the full value of the bail bond?

Bail Bondsman’s Answer

You are liable for the full amount of the bond plus expenses if your friend or relative does not go to court and skips bail. However, a failure to appear in court does not necessarily mean you’ll have to pay the full amount of the bond.

Quite often we are able to pick up the defendant (now called a fugitive, or skip), which will save you costs. Our office may charge you and any other co-signors with the fees for capture. These fees will be annotated in your bond contract, please take a moment to read through any and all contracts you sign with any bail bonds company.

If you do not see information about additional fees for capture, ask the bond company. Any question PRIOR to signing the bail contract should be answered and any reputable bondsman will be glad to answer questions.

While there is no excuse for missing court and skipping bail, we strongly encourage our client’s to notify us of any unusual circumstances so that we can advise them as to the best course of action.

We do let our co-signors know that if the bond becomes due to the court, they will be liable and any assets or property they own may be subject to a civil lawsuit against them.

it’s always in the best interest of the defendant and cosignor to let your bondsman know of any problems they may be facing. If the cosignor believe the defendant is going to run, its best to tell the your bondsmen straight away. You may be able to sign off the bond, a bail bond forfeiture, so you’re not liable for the entire amount and associated fees.

That about sums up answering the question about what happens if a defendant misses court. If you have something to add or would like to us to update the answer, please post your comments below.

About the author

Nick Judelson is a veteran bail bondsman who helps to show cosignors and defendants how to calculate bail and how bail bonds work throughout the United States.

2 thoughts on “What happens if a defendant misses court?”

  1. I decided to leave a message here on your What happens if a defendant misses court page instead of calling you. I’m thrilled to see this information out there especially when some bail bond agents are doing business unethically and to the point illegal when they throw you back in jail and keep your money. My brother never missed court and the bond company said he missed a check-in by a few hours and picked him up and put him back in jail. We had to bond him out again with another company. Keep up the good work on your bail writing!

  2. My roommate took off after I signed for his bail bond in Florida. I know he missed his court dates and is on the run for a drug charge. Since I cosigned for his bond, am I liable for the entire amount? His bail was only $5000 and I thought $500 was a lot of money – does this mean I owe another $4500 to the bail bond company?

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