Every now and then a client will ask the bondsman why the defendant still needs to go to court if they have been released on Contra Costa bail bonds.
This person has already been to jail, they’ll say, and we paid money to get him out. Shouldn’t that mean that everything has been taken care of? They have surely learned their lesson!
Unfortunately, this isn’t how our legal system works. When someone is arrested in California for a non-capitol offense they will be granted the opportunity to post bail. Bail is a monetary amount that, when posted with the court or jail, allows a defendant to be released from custody pending trial. They will still need to return to court on a set date and time in order to have their case decided by a judge.
When you bail someone out of jail the most important thing you are taking responsibility for is that this person will go to court. This responsibility can’t be stressed enough.
When someone fails to appear the judge will revoke their bond and issue a bench warrant for their immediate arrest. This now means the defendant can put back in jail on any day, for any reason, at any time.
If a defendant fails to appear because they are sick, forgot, got stuck in traffic or because they had car troubles, this can be fixed in a short phone call. They will want to call their Contra Costa bail bonds representative as quickly as possible. The bondsman will provide them with a piece of paper called a reassumption of liability (ROL). This is a piece of paper that will need to be brought to the court. It will allow for their warrant to be lifted, for their bond to be reinstated and for the court case to be rescheduled.
Sometimes a defendant will fail to appear because they have no intention of handling their case. This causes lots of problems. One- they will need to keep in mind that warrant checks are performed on people all the time without them knowing it. It happens during routine traffic stops, on cruise ships at ports of call, on airline passengers who are flying to and from international destinations and on drivers who are entering the US from Mexico or Canada. Warrants are good in all 50 states and they never expire. They do not simply go away.
In addition, the bondsman and the person who cosigned for the defendant will have up to 180 days to get them back into the system. If the bondsman needs to hire a fugitive recovery agent, or bounty hunter, the cosigner will be liable to cover that cost.
If the defendant cannot be apprehended, the bondsman and the cosigner will be on the hook to cover the full bail amount. This responsibility will ultimately fall to the cosigner- and the bondsman will be able to take legal action in order to make sure they recover that full cost.
The bottom line is that failing to appear while out on Contra Costa bail bonds is a very serious matter and it should be avoided at all cost.