What Is A Bond Forfeiture? Can I Get Out If I Have One?
A bond forfeiture occurs when a person is required to show up for court on either a personal bond or a surety bond, and they fail to show up for that court date. Some judges will give a bit of leeway, especially if that person has an attorney who can argue for them as to why they were not able to make it. In the event that the judge does issue a bond forfeiture, they are revoking the previous personal bond or surety bond and the defendant is going to have a warrant issued against them. The warrant will typically come out three to five days after the bond forfeiture is issued. If the defendant does not deal with the warrant for as long as a month, then the Travis County attorney’s office will sue that individual for the total amount of the bond.
If it is a personal bond, the county will sue the defendant. Just because they have been sued for that amount, however, does not mean that is going to be the amount that they will be required to pay to take care of their warrant. The county will typically settle for a significantly lesser fee. It is around $335 right now, for a misdemeanor, and higher for a felony. In the case of a surety bond, the county will sue the bail bondsman. The bail bondsman will attempt to take the defendant into custody, so that they do not have to pay that amount.
If a defendant addresses a bond forfeiture before a civil suit is filed, it is much easier to handle and less expensive. If you hire an attorney to do a bond forfeiture set aside, and it is after the 30-day deadline, the attorney will be required to settle the civil suit and also must get a judge to agree to reinstate the bond. If it is before the deadline, then the attorney will just have to get the judge to agree to the reinstatement.
On a personal bond forfeiture where there is a civil suit, the defendant would not be required to pay the civil suit if they are in custody, the charge is a misdemeanor, and they have been arrested within the first six months of the bond forfeiture. Then, the code requires that the county dismiss the civil suit and that they not be required to pay. On a felony, it must be within the first nine months of having the bond forfeited. Many attorneys do not take advantage of this, and Travis County Attorney’s Office is more than happy to accept the defendant’s money to settle a civil suit that they also would agree to dismiss for free if only asked.
Bond forfeitures have to go through the judge whose court they were originally set in. That means if that specific judge is not available, that defendant is going to either wait with a warrant out or wait in custody. During weekends and after business hours it is especially difficult, if not impossible, to get a previous bond reinstated. If you have a bond forfeiture and you cannot hire an attorney to handle it because of that restriction, you can hire a bail bondsman to handle it. However, if there were a civil suit, you would still have that suit pending and it would not be resolved. If you own property in Travis County, it is possible that the county would come after that property and burden it with the civil suit in the future.
For more information on Bond Forfeiture In The State Of Texas, A Free Case Evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (512) 601-0009 today.
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