If you are considering bailing a friend or loved one out of jail, it’s understandable to have some concern over the consequences you may be subject to if they don’t appear in court. To help keep your best interests in mind, Jeremy Nicholas of Nicholas Bail Bonds in West Plains, MO, discusses what to expect and do if a loved one skips out on their court date.
Once you decide to post bail for a loved one, they must show up for their scheduled court date, or you risk certain consequences. Failure to appear puts the bail bond in default. This can result in the loss of the collateral you placed to secure it, such as a home or car.
In most states, there is a grace period in which the bail bond agent is notified of the defendant’s absence and time is allotted for them to appear. In the state of Missouri, the bail bond company or its’ agents can locate the defendant and return them to custody. However, if they don’t come back by the end of the grace period, you may be subject to forfeiting your collateral and being held liable by the bail bond company.
Why choosing a professional matters…
In the event, this happens, you want to know that you are dealing with a professional. The bail bond company’s ultimate goal should be to resolve the matter through an “up-step strategy”. I’ll explain this strategy in some detail.
Initially, a professional will understand that people are fallible and make occasional mistakes. Therefore, the bail bond agent should make every effort to communicate with the defendant and co-signers, making them aware of the missed appointment. Almost always, in the event of a mistake, it can be rectified by reappearing with your bail bondsman in open court and having the date reset.
Also, bail bondsmen should understand and be sympathetic to issues that some people face. Examples would be lack of transportation, addiction, financial hardships and mental heath issues. All of these contribute to missed court dates. Instead of a warrant being issued, many times if a bail bond company is ahead of the game on these issues, they can provide regular monitoring, transportation and consistent friendly reminders of court dates. These things set defendants up for success in having their case properly and fairly adjudicated.
When all else fails...
In the event, the defendant has absconded and refuses to return for court, your compliance with the bail bond company can go a long way in locating a defendant to protect you and themselves from paying the face amount of the bond. The following are a few rules as to what to expect and what to do and not to do in the event that you are the co-signer on a bail bond when the defendant absconds.
- Provide information. Don’t provide assistance in the capture. The bail agent is licensed and you are not. If they ask you to come along to find the defendant, politely offer all the information you can and explain that you are not licensed to do so.
- Politeness goes a long way on both sides. We’ve heard it all over the years. A bail bond is a civil agreement. You CANNOT be put in jail because you co-signed on a bond. The only recourse the company has, is financial. It will also help if you work with your professional agent to assist in locating the absconder by providing information. However, if a bail bond agent is harassing you or threatening you, do not hesitate to contact your local authorities.
- Understand, you both have the same goal. Work together. Working together will likely achieve the goal you both want; that being the defendant safely brought into custody and neither of you having to pay the amount of the bond.
- Defendants who abscond should be treated with the same respect as anyone. It’s perfectly okay to be relentless in your search. It is not okay, however to bully or intimidate anyone. Most defendants who abscond are scared. Treating them with respect once they are caught, goes a long way.
If you have a loved one who is incarcerated, turn to a licensed bail bond agent at Nicholas Bail Bonds. They have built a reputation for trustworthy and professional services in West Plains, MO. Contact them 24 hours a day at (417) 255-1109 to speak with a licensed bondsman. You can also visit their website for more information about the services this bail bond company provides.