Article 17.02 of the Code of Criminal Procedure defines bail bond as, “a written undertaking entered into by the defendant and the defendant’s sureties for the appearance therein before a court or magistrate to answer a criminal accusation.” In other words, criminal defendants can be released on bail while their cases are pending in the courts, but in return they promise to appear at all future court hearings as required.
Bail bond forfeitureis what happens when you miss a court appearance, and the bail bondsmen, you, or the person who posted bond on your behalf is required to pay the outstanding bail. Once the forfeited bond is paid, it becomes the property of the jurisdiction handling your criminal case and it is non-refundable.
As far as criminal cases are concerned, bail bond is forfeited when a defendant has guaranteed they’ll appear in court by posting bond, but he or she fails to appear. For example, if you post bond and you miss a future court date, the judge could schedule what’s called a bond forfeiture hearing.
About the Bond Hearing
Suppose you missed a court date and the judge ordered such a hearing. In this case, the judge would conduct a hearing to determine if you had a justifiable excuse for missing your scheduled court appearance. If the judge decides you did not have a good cause, he or she could issue a bench warrant for your arrest by a certain date.
If you could not be located before the arrest date, the court would proceed with forfeiting your bond. Meaning, the court would move to collect the full bond amount from you, the person who helped you post bond, or from the company that helped you. For example, if you used your home as collateral, it could be sold to obtain the money needed to pay the bond since the bond forfeiture was ordered by the court.
Related: Should I Represent Myself in Court?
To learn more about bail bonds in Texas, contact our firm to meet with a Plano criminal defense attorney who is on your side.