What Happens if You Don’t Pay a Bail Bondsman?

lawsuitThere are two instances in which you might have to pay a bail bondsman. One is the payment of the bail bond fee or the non-refundable fee of 10 percent that you pay to hire the services of a bail bondsman to act as surety on your behalf. The other instance is when you skip bail or break the conditions of your bail, any one of which can prompt the court to declare you in violation of your bail, and declaring the surety bond that the bail bondsman filed on your behalf as forfeit in favor of the court. Then the bail bondsman will have recourse against you, to pay them back the amount of the surety bond they put up, and which now belongs to the court.

In both these instances, you have an obligation to pay the bail bondsman regardless of how your case turns out. If the charges against you are later dropped, or if you are acquitted, you are still obligated to pay under the surety contract you signed with your bail bondsman.

The crucial difference here now is that this is no longer a criminal matter, but a civil one. In other words, if you neglect to pay your bail bondsman the amount you owe him, he cannot put you back in jail. However, he can file a lawsuit against you for the satisfaction of the amount you owe him. It may happen, however, that you fail to pay the full amount of the bail bond fee while the court case is still pending. The bail bondsman then has the option of filing a motion to revoke the surety bond he filed on your behalf. If the court grants this motion, the bail upon which you were released becomes nullified. When that happens, things will return to the status quo before the bail bondsman filed the surety bond: that is, you will be rearrested and detained for the original charge, with the option to make bail again in whatever form you choose.

Many bail bondsmen seek to avoid the hassle of having to file a lawsuit against a client who defaulted on their bail. While they do recognize the possibility that a client may skip bail, they can still agree to act as surety for the defendant. They simply address the possibility of a defaulting client by requiring additional collateral. This collateral will serve as their relief should the defendant skip town. So when the surety bond is declared forfeit in favor of the court, the bail bondsman will look for relief to the collateral instead of filing a lawsuit against you for the satisfaction of their claim.

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