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Bail forfeited: What does it mean?

20 dollar bills for bail money

If you were given the opportunity to post bail but you fail to appear in court on the appropriate date, your bail is typically declared forfeited. 

While this can vary from person to person and circumstance to circumstance, let’s take a look at what commonly happens when bail is forfeited.

Why is bail forfeited?

When a defendant posts bail, they’re basically entering into a contract with the court. In this situation, the court says the following: 

If you post bail and return to court on XYZ date, then we will return bail to you after XYZ date. However, if you do not return to court on XYZ date, then you forfeit bail and we will not return the bail money to you.

This typically involves the bail bond company. 

If the defendant worked with a bail bond company to post bail, then the bail amount will also not be returned to the bail bond company. However, the bail bond company may have additional opportunities to recoup that lost bail money.

This could mean working with a bounty hunter to deliver the defendant back to court. It could also mean selling the defendant’s collateral in order to make up that lost money. 

Let’s use a $20,000 bail example. 

The defendant paid a $2,000 bail bond fee to the bail bond company. To make up for the additional $18,000, they signed over their vehicle as collateral. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bond company can sell the defendant’s vehicle to recoup that additional $18,000.

If you’re in need of a bail bond, this is why it’s important to select your collateral carefully. Avoid signing over primary vehicles and residences. Otherwise, if your loved one skips court and you worked with a bail bond company on their behalf, you could have some serious hurdles in front of you. Using collateral options such as jewelry or a secondary vehicle is always a more ideal scenario.

Keep Learning: Can you bail someone out of jail with no money?

How to avoid a forfeited bail

Obviously the best way to avoid forfeiting bail would be to show up to court on the appropriate day. This way you can avoid the lost money, a warrant for your arrest, and a potential automatic Guilty plea.

However, if you simply must skip court, then we recommend working with a lawyer to excuse your absence.

This is possible if your absence is justified. This typically involves incidents that involve a hospital or a death, but there may be additional circumstances that would merit an excused absence. It’s best to consult with an attorney to explore all your options.

Additional bail bond resources:

A list of average bail amounts by crime

a person handcuffed

We can provide you with a list of average bail amounts by crime, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

For starters, just because there’s an average bail amount, does not mean that a person charged with that particular crime will have their bail set at or near that average amount.

The average bail should be looked at as more of a “recommendation” by the court. You may receive a higher or lower bail amount based on your criminal history and individual circumstances. It is also possible that you do not get bail at all, and you’re required to remain in jail while you await trial.

This being said, let’s take a look at some of the most common crimes and their average bail amounts.

Related Content: Is bail and bond the same thing?

Average bail amounts by crime

  • Restraining order violations: Depending on at what point you violated a restraining order and what your criminal history looks like, bail for a restraining order violation can be set anywhere between $15,000 to $150,000.
  • Drinking and driving: The bail amount for a DUI can drastically vary depending on how many DUIs you’ve had and what occurred during the episode. For example, a typical DUI can start around $20,000. If harm to a person occurred (including vehicular manslaughter), this can increase to as much as $100,000 (depending on whether or not gross negligence is part of the equation).
  • Other common vehicle crimes: Aside from drinking and driving, there are a handful of common vehicle-related crimes. For example, $20,000 to $30,000 is the average bail amount for the following incidents: driving a car without a person’s consent (depending on the vehicle and criminal history), hit and runs (with no major bodily harm), and throwing something at a moving vehicle (with no major physical or bodily harm).
  • Drug possession charges: Drug possession charges vary drastically, and it is very difficult to provide an average bail amount. The set amount will be based on the amount of drugs in possession, the type of drugs in possession, and your intent (using, manufacturing, distributing, etc). For small amounts with no intent to distribute, bail typically starts around $25,000. For large amounts with the intent to distribute, bail can be set anywhere between $500,000 and $5,000,000.
  • Burglary: If the theft is something similar to stealing from a person or a store, bail could be set at $20,000. If the defendant entered someone’s home, this could increase to $50,000. Vehicular theft can increase bail to as much as $100,000. All of these bail amounts can increase based on the dollar amount of goods stolen.
  • Assault: Physical assault (not to be confused with sexual assault) can vary depending on who was assaulted, how serious the assault was, and if there were weapons used during the assault. For example, a simple assault charge could start at $10,000. If the defendant had a firearm during the assault, then it would start at $50,000. 

If you’re working with a bail bond company, then you don’t have to pay the full bail amount to court. Learn more about how to calculate bail bonds.

Need help posting bail? Cowboy Bail Bonds can help.

Take a look at our bail bond resources below and then give us a call or fill out our online form to get help with bail.

What does a bail bondsman do?

red phone and cord

If a judge has set bail on a loved one, then you’re probably looking for a bail bond company. You want to get your loved one out of jail as quickly as possible, but it’s important to know: What does a bail bondsman do?

Let’s take a look at the 3 most important things a bail bondsman can do for you.

They can help you understand the bail process

A bail bondsman knows the bail system inside and out. If a loved one has never been to jail, then you probably know very little about the bail system.

Since the bail process can be very overwhelming and involve a lot of moving pieces, a bail bondsman can be an important resource for you. 

They can help you understand the paperwork and requirements and provide you with the appropriate numbers, locations, and contacts. 

Learn more about how the bail amount is determined by the court.

They will pay the full bail amount for you

Of course, if you’re looking for a bail bond company, then that means you can’t or won’t pay the full bail amount out of pocket. This is the whole point of working with a bail bondsman. 

Once you sign the appropriate documents and pay the bail bond fee, the bail bondsman will pay the full bail amount to the court on your behalf. 

In some cases, you’ll need collateral, as well. Read up on the different forms of bail bond collateral.

They can speed up the bail process

One of the most important facets of working with a bail bondsman is that they can speed up the bail process for you.

Since they know the bail system very well and they can quickly gather funds to pay the full bail amount for you, they can get your loved one out of jail within 24-48 hours. If you’re working on your own and you’re not used to the court system, this could take up to a week or more (especially if you don’t have the funds immediately available).

More resources on bail bonds:

Is bail and bond the same thing?

words in a dictionary

Is bail and bond the same thing? Many people use these two terms interchangeably. However, bail and bond are two different words with two different meanings (even though they’re closely related).

Let’s take a quick look at the difference between bail and bond.

What is the difference between bail and bond?

When people refer to bail, they’re referring to the amount of money they have to pay to be released from jail. When bail is paid, this only releases the defendant from jail until his or her trial. Paying bail does not mean the defendant is released from jail forever.

Bail is refundable and will be returned to the defendant after trial (even if the defendant is found to be guilty). 

However, if the defendant does not show up to trial, the total bail amount is forfeited. 

The bail amount is determined by the judge. They use a variety of factors to come up with this amount, including how serious the current charge is and what their flight risk is.

Bond, on the other hand, is provided by a bail bond company. A bond is basically a promise or assurance to the bond company that you will return to court on your trial date. In exchange for this promise, the bail bond company will pay the full bail amount to the court.

Bonds are not free. Bail bond companies will charge a bail bond fee (usually around 10%), and they typically require a form of collateral on top of this fee. 

Keep in mind, the bail bond fee is not returned.

Related Content:

How much is a $20,000 bail bond?

Filling out bail bond paperwork

If you’ve been hit with a bail set at $20,000, this means that you must pay the court $20,000 to be released from jail. Upon doing so, you can await trial from the comforts of your own home. 

Once the trial process is completely over, then you should expect a full refund from the court. Bail is not an opportunity for the court system to make money. It is seen as a means to guarantee that the defendant returns back to court.

More bail information:

How much is a bond if your bail is set at $20,000?

So, if your bail is set at $20,000, this doesn’t mean that your bond is $20,000.

In California, a bail bond company will charge you a 10% premium that is non-refundable. There might be additional fees to fill out the application, but you can expect to pay around $2,000. After you fill out all the necessary information and make payment plans with the bail bond company, they will pay the full $20,000 to the court on your behalf.

On top of this, you’ll need to consider collateral.

There are a variety of options you can use for collateral, but whatever you use will have to make up for the additional $18,000. If you fail to appear in court, the bail company will use that collateral to make up for the full bail amount (since bail will be forfeited and not returned with a failure to appear in court). This being said, be careful with what you choose as collateral. If your loved one skips their court date, then the bail bondsman has the right to take your collateral. This would be an incredibly painful experience if you used your home or primary vehicle as collateral. 

More bail bond information:

Do you get bail money back if found guilty?

20 dollar bills for bail money

Do you get bail money back if found guilty? This is definitely a frequently asked question around here. 

But whether you’re eventually found guilty or innocent, it’s important to understand what happens to all that bail money. Is bail money returned or not? And what happens if you work with a bail bond agent instead? Do you lose money at that point?

Let’s take it one scenario at a time.

Is bail returned if you pay the court?

Keep Reading: How is bail amount determined by the court?

If you paid bail directly to the court, then you can rest easy knowing that the bail money will be returned in full. However, the case has to be completely over and done with — meaning nothing can be pending. This is good news considered how steep bail is these days — averaging around $50k in California.

Is bail returned if you work with a bail bond company?

Since bail is so expensive, it’s not uncommon for defendants and their loved ones to seek out a bail bond company. A bail bond company will pay the full bail amount to the court on the defendant’s behalf. However, this is not a free service. Bail bond agents will charge you a premium in exchange for posting bail — this is usually a small percentage of the total bail amount. This fee is nonrefundable, even if you are eventually found innocent of all charges. So while the total bail amount is refundable — the bail premium is not refundable when you work with a bail bond company.

Keep Reading: How do bail bond companies work?

Is bail returned if you’re found guilty?

Whether you’re found innocent or guilty of the charges, bail is returned. But again, the case has to be completely over before this can happen. Bail is simply a preventative measure to make sure defendants return to court for trial. It is not an opportunity for the court system to make extra money. Because of this, bail is returned.

Keep Reading: Can you bail someone out of jail with no money?

How to decide how to post bail

If you’re trying to decide how to pay bail, working with a bail bond company is often the better choice. Since the court process can take a while, most people are hesitant to temporarily empty out their savings account to pay bail (even if it is returned at the end of everything). A bail bond company gives you the opportunity to keep your money and get your loved one out of jail while they await trial. The bail premium is usually worth it in the long run. 

If you need help posting bail, we can help. At Cowboy Bail Bonds, we have decades of experience helping people post bail in Bakersfield, Taft, Lamont, and throughout Kern County. Give us a call or send us a message to get help today.

Can you bail someone out of jail with no money?

empty wallet with no money

Can you bail someone out of jail with no money? It’s a reasonable question to ask considering how expensive bail can be (averaging around $50,000). So, what happens if you can’t afford bail?

Unfortunately, if you’ve been asked to post bail, you need at least some money. Yes, there are other types of bonds that don’t require you to pay money to be released (like an OR Bond) — but a cash bond is not one of those, and only certain individuals are approved for OR Bonds.

If you can’t afford the full bail amount, then you can attempt to pay a percentage of the bail. To do this, you have to seek out a bail bond company. In California, bail bond companies normally charge a 10% fee and may request some type of collateral from you to back up the bond. 

This percentage fee is not returned, so don’t expect to get it back.

Once you complete the paperwork with the bail bondsman and pay your percentage fee (which could be a couple thousand dollars or more), then the bail bondsman will pay the full bail amount to court and help get your loved one released from jail. 

If you can’t pay the percentage fee on your own, then it’s important to work with friends and family members to come up with that amount. This is still a better alternative than paying the full bail amount to court or having your loved one wait in jail until their court date (which could be quite a while).

Keep Reading: How do bail bond companies work?

If you need more information about how to post bail or if you’d like to inquire about other payment plans or options, please give us a call at 661-324-6009. At Cowboy Bail Bonds, we have decades of experience providing bail bonds in Bakersfield, Taft, Lamont, and Kern County.

We’re located in downtown Bakersfield, and we’re available for assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, CA — Easy Bail, Fast Service

the padre hotel in Bakersfield, CA

Looking for bail bonds in Bakersfield? At Cowboy Bail Bonds, we offer fast and easy bail bond services in Bakersfield, CA and throughout Kern County — including Taft, Lamont, Shafter, and Delano.

With decades of experience, we have the resources and expertise you need to get your loved one out of jail fast. When you work with us, you can expect:

    • A free consultation — give us a call, we’ll let you know exactly what to expect and when
    • A hassle-free process — we’ll come to you, and we’ll make the bail bond process as painless as possible
    • 24-hr service — we’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week… when you call us, we’ll answer
    • Honest and direct communication — we don’t mess around, we’ll tell it to you how it is
    • Quick Release — from the very first minute we speak, we’ll work tirelessly to get your loved one out of jail as fast as we can… leveraging our community resources and decades of experience providing bail bonds in Bakersfield

Contact us today to get help with bail bonds in Bakersfield

VISIT US

Cowboy Bail Bonds

1710 Blanche St

Bakersfield, CA 93304

Lic. # 1841598

CALL US

Phone: 661.324.6009

Toll Free: 855.324.2245

Text: 661.342.6823

EMAIL US

info@cowboybailbonds.com

MESSAGE US

https://www.cowboybailbonds.com/contact/ 

How do bail bond companies work?

bail bonds agent writing on a document

If you want to know, “How do bail bond companies work?”, then you might be facing some sort of legal trouble. If this is the case, don’t worry. Working with a bail bond company is typically a very smooth process. In fact, a bail bondsman can even quicken the process and help you avoid potential issues along the way.

Let’s take a few moments to discuss how a bail bond company works and provide you with additional resources to keep learning.

What is bail? 

Bail is set by the court. It is a dollar amount that the defendant pays. Once the bail is paid, then the defendant can await his or her court date from home — rather than waiting in a jail cell. Bail is typically pretty expensive, especially in California (the average amount is around $50,000), and many individuals awaiting trial cannot afford to post bail on their own (which is why they seek out a bail bond company). 

However, bail is not always a guaranteed thing. In some cases, bail can be denied based on factors such as flight risk, seriousness of the alleged crime committed, and degree of danger to the community.

Additional Resources:

How do you post bail with a bail bondsman?

If you cannot afford to post bail on your own, then you can either remain in jail as you await your court date or you can seek out a bail bond company. When you approach a bail bond company, they will need to gather personal information, work history, references, and collateral. If approved, the bail bond company will go to the court and pay the full bail amount on your behalf. Then you or your loved one should be released from jail.

Additional Resources

How does a bail bond company make money? 

When you turn to a bail bond company to help you post bail, you will be required to pay a fee (usually around 10%). While the bond itself is refundable, this fee is not (even if you are eventually found innocent of the crime). After you attend your court date, the bail amount will be refunded to the bail bond company, and the bail bond company will pocket your bail bond fee. This is how bail bond companies make money and are able to offer this service.

Additional Resources

Can a bail bond company arrest you? 

Bail bondsmen are not considered law enforcement to any degree. They simply offer a bail service to the community. However, if you don’t make your court date that means the bail bond company will not get your bail amount refunded. This means they have an incentive to get you back to court. In this type of situation, the bail bond company would hire a bounty hunter. These people are also not police officers, but they do have the authority to legally detain you and take you back to court. 

Additional Resources

What happens if you don’t make your court date?

If you don’t make your court date, then you will have a failure to appear on your record and a warrant will be issued for your arrest. As we mentioned earlier, this will be the point at which the bail bond company will likely reach out to a bounty hunter. If you did happen to post bail on your own, then a failure to appear in court means you forfeit the entire bail amount, and it will not be returned to you.

Additional Resources

Need help posting bail? Contact Cowboy Bail Bonds.

At Cowboy Bail Bonds, we have decades of experience providing bail bonds in Bakersfield, Taft, Wasco, and throughout Kern County, and we’d love to talk to you. Fill out our online form or give us a call today.

Not in Kern County? Here’s how to find a bail bond company near me.

How is the bail amount determined in court?

a woman counting money to pay bail amount

If you or a loved one is sent to jail, then you’ll immediately want to know, “How is the bail amount determined in court?” This is because once bail is set, then you can start the process to get your friend or family member out of jail. The sooner you can get your loved one out of jail, the better.

When it comes to bail, however, there are several factors that will help the judge determine bail amount. These factors can include:

  • The defendant’s criminal history: Is this the individual’s first crime or have they committed multiple crimes in the past? Do they have a failure to appear on their record? (Learn more about a failure to appear in court.)
  • The nature of the crime: How serious is the crime? If they’re released, will they be a danger to anyone in the community?
  • Their intent to flee: Do they pose a significant flight risk? Are the chances high that they’ll leave the city, state, or country if released on bail?

Any of these factors can increase or decrease bail, and in certain cases, you could be fully denied bail. At this point, you’ll be forced to remain in jail until your trial is completed.

Keep in mind… even if you have a clean criminal history and relatively minor charge on the table, you could still end up facing a pretty steep bail amount. In fact, the median bail amount in California is around $50,000 (which is significantly higher than other areas of the country).

You can be released on an “OR bond”, which means you don’t have to post bail and you can still await trial at home. Learn more about Own Recognizance bonds.

Know your bail amount already? Here’s what you need to know.

When it comes time to post bail, the majority of people will seek out help from a bail bondsman — simply based on the fact that bail is usually a lot of money. Take a look at the resources below to learn more about how and when to post bail.

  1. Are bail bonds open on weekends?
  2. How to find a bail bondsman near me
  3. What information does a bail bondsman need?
  4. Different types of bail bond collateral