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What Happens When Someone Skips Bail In Los Angeles County?


When an individual posts bail on a criminal case in Los Angeles County and later on doesn’t show up for the court, what ends up happening is the court will issue a warrant for that person’s arrest and will forfeit their bail.

How to Get Bail Reinstated in Los Angeles

In order to get that bail back – let’s say someone misses a court date then three days later they come back, the bail has already been forfeited. What we do is we have the bail bond company issue what’s called re-assumption papers which they basically indicate to the court in writing that they’re going to re-assume that bail, and assuming the court leaves the bail the same, then you’re good and you can continue to defend yourself in the case while you’re out of custody.

But the judge doesn’t have to leave the bail the same. The judge can say, I don’t know why you didn’t show up. I don’t care why you didn’t show up. I’m now going to raise the bail up because you didn’t show up on the bail that it was.

So, that’s something just to bear in mind if you’ve missed a court date and you now have a warrant and you want to get that bail re-assumed. But what typically happens is, let’s say somebody just runs away to another country.

Bail Forfeiture in Los Angeles – Warrant for Arrest

The bail gets forfeited, then a warrant is issued for their arrest. What ends up happening to that bail is, whoever posted that bail is going to lose that money. So, let’s say it’s a bond company. Your parents, for example, got the bail for you and they put up a premium of let’s say 10% or 5%, whatever the percentage is, and then the bail is forfeited by the judge, now the court is going to go and try to get that bail. So, let’s say its $100,000.00 bail. Whoever posted the bail the courts going to get their money from?

So, let’s say it’s a bond company. I don’t know if they’re going to have an insurance company, but the bottom line is that Bond Company is going to be responsible for paying the money.

So, what the bond company ends up doing is they’re going to either try to foreclose on whatever collateral they took – let’s say they attach it to a home or a car – they’re going to try to make those two items be sold so they can get their money.

Let’s say the bond company wasn’t smart enough to get any collateral for the $100,000.00, well then, they’re going to them send in lawyers to try to stall the court from completely forfeiting the bond and making them pay the money. Typically there are about 180 days that they can mess around with the case, then after that, they’re going to need to have some real good justification for the judge not to try to take that money from them.

Bounty Hunter

An example of that would be, they’ve got a bounty hunter trying to chase and catch the guy. They’ve figured out where the person is. They’re closing in on him. They need a couple of months.

The judge might give it to them under those circumstances. This is why the bond companies put in their contracts that people can’t leave the country. They sometimes take people’s passports.

I’ve seen them put ankle monitors on them, especially on a high bail, if the bond company doesn’t have enough collateral to protect themselves and the person skips, especially in a serious crime where the person could be looking at many years in prison, the bond company is going to be out that money eventually and that’s a lot of money to lose.

So, instead of losing that money, they’re going to want to catch the person and that’s how bounty hunters have jobs in Los Angeles County because they’re trying to catch people who skip on bonds and make sure that the bond company doesn’t lose their money.

So, the bond company is actually allowed to go and make a citizen’s arrest on the person – grab them and bring them into the county jail – bring them into law enforcement and say, this guy has a warrant out for their arrest.

They skipped on their bond and if they can do it within the right time parameters, then they won’t lose their money, as long as they get that person back in custody they’re good.

That’s why you’ll see a lot of times someone’s acting like an idiot while they’re out on custody, not cooperating with the bond company, not paying their premium that they’re supposed to, it turns out the collateral is no good.

The bond company will just grab the person, bring them into custody and say Judge, we no longer are going to be responsible for this bond. We want this person taken into custody and that person is going to be taken into custody. The judge isn’t going to leave him out if the bond company’s not going to uphold the bond and then that person would have to get another bond company in Los Angeles to post their bond and make sure that they can remain out of custody while their case is pending.

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About the Author

Named Top Los Angeles Criminal Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 criminal defense attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.