When a person is released from prison on bail it is with the understanding that they will appear in court and consent to any stipulations the judge demands to resolve the case. Without bail, a defendant would sit in jail throughout the legal process, and therefore would certainly be accounted for at all their hearings. The reason bail is set at such a high amount is to serve as a deterrent from bail jumping.
The court does not have to wait for a defendant to miss a court appearance in order to declare that they have jumped bail. If the defendant has simply taken steps towards missing their court date, the court can revoke the bail and then issue a warrant for the individual’s arrest.
Revoking bail means that the defendant will no longer get the bail money back. If a bail bond agent paid for their release, the property of any co-signer will be in jeopardy. Furthermore, it will be the bondsman’s responsibility to bring the defendant in to face the court. If the defendant never shows, the bondsman’s ability to write bail bonds may be revoked.
Bondsmen rarely, if ever, go out to track down fugitives themselves. The United Sates is one of only a few countries on Earth that allow for bounty hunters to track down fugitives for pay. A bounty hunter is also known as a bail enforcement agent or a fugitive recovery agent.
Every state in the U.S. has its own laws defining bail enforcement regulations and procedures. For example, the state of Delaware only allows the bondsman to apprehend their fugitive client. Louisiana requires bounty hunters to identify themselves by wearing a specific uniform. Some states like Texas and Arkansas don’t allow bounty hunters at all; only law enforcement agents are allowed to apprehend fugitives.
For those ordinary, law-abiding citizens who have been arrested and let out on bail for some unfortunate incident: don’t worry – the court must be able to prove that you are knowingly avoiding your court appointment in order to revoke your bail and put out a warrant for your arrest.
If you are considering knowingly skipping bail, don’t. Not only will you be held accountable for the full bail amount, not just the 10% you paid the bail bondsman, but it is a felony to jump bail and you will be persecuted and brought to justice to the full extent of the law. Further Reading