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Second Guessing Your Decision To Post Bail For A Loved One?

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Are you second guessing your decision to post bail for your friend or a loved one?  What are your options if you want to revoke the bail?  

Getting released on bail can be a difficult and painful process, not to mention expensive. This opportunity accompanies a ton of strings attached to the defendant and the family member who bailed them out.   If the defendant disregards bail conditions, neglects to appear in court, or gets arrested once again what happens next?

Once you have signed the bond agreement and the defendant is released from jail how do you “undo”? Well, pretty simply, you can’t  However you are not without options.  The most important thing if you are regretting doing the bond, is to protect yourself from total loss or forfeiture of the bond. This would occur if the defendant flees or doesn’t appear for all court dates and the court forfeits the bond on the Bond Company.  If this happens you will have to pay the entire bond in full to the bond company.

To save yourself from this you’ll want to contact the bond company and explain your situation.  Revoking the bond may be an option but it isn’t without cost.  If it is determined that the bond can be lawfully revoked which to do so requires that the defendant is apprehended by a bail enforcement agency and surrendered to the jail of jurisdiction. The person who bailed them out is liable for the cost of the bail enforcement fees and any other costs that may arise, such as travel and investigative costs.  This can be nerve wracking if you are second guessing bailing out a friend or a loved one.


Reasons that you might be nervous about posting bail for someone that is a liability to show up to court.  

  1. A  bounty hunter charge cost is typically around 10% for recoveries and as much as 35% for out of state recovery – in addition to travel, investigative and other associated costs.  Guess who has to pay this? The person who signed the contract.
  2. If the defendant does not show up to court and cannot be located by the bounty hunter, the entire amount of bail originally set by the court is due.  The sole responsibility falls back on the (Indemnitor) which is the person that signed the contract at the time of posting bail.  
  3. If there was collateral was taken at the time of bail posting (such as a cash, or lien on a car or house), that will be used to pay towards the bond.

So what are your options and can you rescind or revoke a bond after posting bail?

In theory, no. Once the bond is placed, absent some other situation, the bail bondsman should not be able to revoke his/her bond just because they are not happy or they are scared their friend or loved one won’t show up to their court date. The issue will ultimately be up to the judge, however, if he/she wishes to allow the bail bondsman to pull his/her bond.

Revoking Bail:  State laws vary as to the bail revocation process. Nevertheless, all state laws allow for revocation of bail if a defendant violates a condition of release, fails to appear, or commits another crime while on bail.  

A defendant’s bail can be revoked for other reasons, including:

  • committing a crime while released, even in the absence of a conviction for that crime, and
  • violating any other condition of bail, such as failing to stay away from the crime victim.

Getting Bail reinstated: Even after the bond has been forfeited, it’s still possible to have it set aside through “remission.” A bail remission motion is a request to refund money that was forfeited. Generally, these motions must be filed within a certain time, such as one year, from the date of forfeiture. Whether to grant relief from a forfeiture is usually within the trial court’s discretion. Judges consider whether justice requires the forfeiture. Typically, a forfeiture can be set aside if:

  • the defendant wasn’t aware of the specific condition violated
  • the defendant’s violation wasn’t willful
  • the government incurred no expense in attempting to locate the defendant, or
  • the government wasn’t prejudiced or damaged by the violation.

Under federal and some state laws, a forfeiture can be set aside in whole or in part.

If a defendant is out on bail and wants to stay that way, showing up in court and following the conditions of release are crucial. The costs of one missed court date or violating a condition of release is the defendant’s financial and personal freedom.

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