Generally, bond is an amount set by the court, in either cash or property, that is posted to ensure the criminal court defendant’s appearance for court actions. Bail bond forfeiture results when a court appearance is missed, and the company or person who put up the bond is required to pay the defendant’s outstanding bail amount. A forfeited bond becomes the property of the jurisdiction overseeing the case, and it cannot be refunded.
If a defendant released on a bond subsequently misses his or her court date, the judge can order a bond forfeiture hearing. During the hearing, the judge will determine whether the defendant had a good reason for failing to appear in court. If the judge determines the defendant did not have cause, he or she will ordinarily issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest by a certain date. If the defendant cannot be located by that date, the court will move forward with bond forfeiture. If a defendant has put up collateral to secure a bond, the collateral can be sold to obtain cash to pay the bond once a bond forfeiture has been ordered.