What is a Forfeiture?
A “forfeiture” is a technical term used in the Bail industry to indicate if a particular Defendant has missed their scheduled court appearance and the courts have forfeited their bond. Missing court starts a chain reaction and can be difficult to deal with if the appropriate steps are not taken.
If someone who is on bond misses court, the first thing they should do is call their Bondsman. The Bondsman has the ability to do several things to get the warrant cancelled with the courts. They can provide the defendant with a Consent of Surety, this is a court form used by the Bondsman to inform the courts that they (the bondsman) are willing to stay on that defendant’s bond. If the Judge accepts the Consent, the warrant will be cancelled and the defendant will not have to pay any money to do this.
The Bondsman can also facilitate a walk-through. This is where the Bondsman and defendant go to a detention facility and post a new bond while the detention facility is booking the defendant into custody. This would cost the defendant money, however the defendant clears up their warrant without having to spend much, if any, time in the detention facility.
The second call a defendant should make if they miss court is to the courthouse. The defendant will be able to speak directly with a clerk, and will be able to talk with the clerk about rescheduling their court date. The defendant will still need to communicate with their Bondsman in order to get the courts to reschedule their appearance date, however the clerks can provide answers to many questions. They are a good source of information and should be utilized if needed.
Forfeitures create some difficult problems in the court system. Clearing up a warrant is a stressful thing to have to deal with, and it can be troublesome to try and communicate with the courts/ attorneys. The hold times can be long as can the call back time, however the courts are still a good source of information about how to handle a forfeiture. The bondsman is the primary person to communicate with though. They have the ability to give any defendant the things they need to deal with their forfeiture and can help make it much less painless. If you miss court, make sure to call your bondsman for help!!