When you bail someone out of jail, you are basically putting money forward to ensure that they will show up for their court date. In a way, you're taking responsibility for their actions and guaranteeing that they won't skip town before their case is heard. If the person you bailed out skips town, you don't get your bail money back . . . but what else happens? Here's a closer look at what you can expect if the person you bailed out skips town.
The bail bond will be in default.
Assuming you took out a bond to bail your friend out of jail, the bond will be said to be in default if your friend skips town. A bond that is in default will not be paid back by your bail bond company. The company can keep any collateral you put forth in exchange for the bail, whether that collateral was a few hundred dollars, a piece of valuable jewelry, a car, or something else. It won't take long for the bail bond company to declare your bond in default since the court will generally contact them as soon as your friend fails to show up for their trial.
You can turn in your friend.
Once you find out your friend has skipped their court date, your number-one goal should be to locate them and turn them in. This is really the only way you can stand to get your bond collateral back. When you do locate them, you can let the police know where they are and send the police to arrest them. Or, if they are willing, you can physically drive them to your local police station and turn them in.
Locating a friend who has skipped out on bail can be difficult. If you think your friend might be dangerous if you approach them, do not attempt to bring them in yourself. There are bounty hunters you can pay to do this job for you. If you know the bail skipper's whereabouts and are able to provide this info to the bounty hunters, they should have no trouble bringing them in. If you have no idea where your friend is, on the other hand, a bounty hunter will have to do more leg work—and thus will charge you more.
You may have 90 days to make things right.
Every state and locale is a bit different, but in most areas, you have 90 days to turn in or locate a friend who has skipped bail. If you do bring them in, your bail bond company should give you back most of your collateral—perhaps minus a small fee. If the accused does not turn up within 90 days, the bail bond company may give you the option to pay off the bail over a period of months—rather than having them seize it all at once.
You must be honest.
In a trying situation such as this, you may be torn between trying to help your friend and trying to help the bail bond agents who are chasing your friend. No matter how much you love your friend and how willing you are to give up the bail money, you must not help them. Skipping out on bail is a serious crime, and if you are found to be helping them, you could be charged with aiding and abetting.
If your loved one has skipped out on bail, you have quite the challenge on your hands. Keep the information above in mind as you attempt to locate your friend and negotiate with the bail bond agents. To learn more, contact a company that provides bail bonds services.