If you fail to pay your bail bond, also known as a premium, your situation can go from bad to worse in a hurry. Let’s take a look at what can happen.
The Bail Bond Process
If you’re arrested and put in jail, the way to get out is by posting bail. However, bail amounts can be significant, so for many people, the best way to deal with bail is through the help of a bail bond agent. These agents can make the process more affordable, and having their experience and expertise on your side is invaluable.
You sign a contract with the bondsman that says you’ll pay them a fee to guarantee the entire amount of the bail, should you fail to show up in court. This is a bail bond. Once you show up to court as promised, the bail is considered paid in full, and you owe only the fee charged for the bail bond agent’s involvement, or the bond.
Unfortunately, bond contracts don’t always work out for everyone. Sometimes, people commit to contracts that aren’t right for them, and then things get even more complicated.
What happens if you fail to pay your premium? It’s not good, and it can cause you problems in three different ways. You’ll be looking at financial, civil, and legal consequences. If you understand the drawbacks, you can prevent big problems for yourself.
If you sign a contract with a bond agent, you are liable for the full amount of the bail, plus the bond agent’s fee. It doesn’t matter what happens in court — that liability does not go away. This is a binding obligation between you and the bond agent. If you refuse or fail to pay the fee, you are violating the contract. They no longer have to take responsibility for you, and they can pursue means to get you to pay what you owe. There are civil and legal consequences tied to all of this, so it is important to understand the risks.
In some cases, a defendant might fail to pay a bond because they are going to be released from jail anyway. In such a case, failing to pay the bond is not a criminal offense. Instead, it’s a civil offense. The bond agent can take you to civil court to get their money. Because you signed a contract, the case is going to be stacked against you. While it’s not completely impossible to win these cases, odds are that a court is going to mandate that you pay the contract. They can even garnish your wages to do so.
Keep in mind that civil recourse is available to bond agents no matter your reason for not paying the bail. Even a defendant who ends up in prison and fails to pay can be sued, which makes the likelihood of winning the case even more difficult.
The scariest part of failing to pay a bond is the legal risk. It’s not a violation of the law to fail to pay your bond fee, but it can still land you in jail. If you don’t pay the agreed-upon fee, the bond agent has every right to relinquish responsibility for you. That means they don’t have to pay your bail. If bail isn’t paid, you go to jail. If you were released before the bond payment occurs, you can go back to jail. Essentially, bail is nullified if the bond agent relinquishes responsibility.
If this happens, getting out of jail becomes even more difficult. You’re still on the hook for the amount of the first agreement, even though they got out of the contract. If you need a new bond agent to get back out of jail, things get difficult. Your record will show that an agent reneged on you, and every other bond agent will know that you failed to pay a premium. If you can get help, you can still pay bail and get released, but you can see how it’s a much more difficult prospect.
The best course of action is to avoid this problem in the first place. Bond agents work with people in tough situations every day. Have a conversation. Be honest about what you can and can’t afford, and you may be able to work out a solution that satisfies everyone. One thing that is certain is that committing to a bond premium you can’t afford will only make things worse for you.If you or someone you know needs help with bail, A Way Out Bail Bonds is here. Contact us now online or call us at 817-261-2828. We’ll walk you through the process so you know what is expected and how it works. We can secure bail so no one has to stay in jail and so you can move on with your life.