Writing bail bonds is a risky job. In the majority of cases, the defendant will fulfill their obligations and make all of their court appearances. There will always be instances, however, when someone will jump bail and force you to track them down and bring them back to justice. Orange County bail bonds agents must always be diligent when writing any bond. When a bond is written, the defendant agrees to comply with all of the requirements of the court in return from their early release from jail.
Prevention Is the Best Recourse
Prevention is the best recourse when it comes to defendant’s skipping or jumping bond. There are many precautionary measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of flight and help protect your overall investment in the case. They include:
- Keep in contact with both the co-signer and the defendant through daily phone calls or personal visits
- Occasionally check with the defendant’s place of employment to ensure they are working and maintaining their responsibilities.
- Maintain current records by periodically asking for verification of information from the defendant and co-signer.
Simple measures can prevent huge financial losses. Keeping track of each defendant and maintaining contact on a regular (sometimes daily) basis is essential if you expect defendants to comply with all of the court’s requirements. Although being proactive and maintaining contact is beneficial, there may still be times when a defendant may slip out of your grasp.
Taking Action After Someone Skips
Once a defendant fails to appear for their court hearing, the forfeiture process begins. As an Orange County bail bonds agent, you only have a limited amount of time to find the defendant and return them to custody before the court demands the bail bond be paid in full. If you have been notified that one of your defendants has failed to appear, your first step is to contact the co-signer. If your addresses and phone numbers are correct, this will more than likely provide you with the information you need to locate the defendant.
In cases, where the defendant has jumped bond and not remained in contact with the co-signer, your next step is contacting their place of employment, friends and family members. Depending on past experiences, many defendants who jump bond don’t venture far from home. Instead, they opt to remain with friend or stay with family who they think will be able to hide them. Maintaining constant contact with individuals who are part of their inner circle, may put enough pressure on them so that they eventually turn themselves in.
The most important thing to remember when trying to apprehend a fugitive is to make sure they know they are being targeted. Circulate flyers, talk to their employers, contact friends and family and go to the places they frequent. Letting a defendant know that they have nowhere to hide is the key to flushing them out of any possible safe haven they may have.
Recovering Your Losses
On the rare occasion that you lose your bond due to a defendant skipping bail, you will need to take measures to recover your losses. After a defendant skips bail, the court will normally allow 14 to 30 days for you to return them to the jail and have their bond revoked. After that time, the entire amount of the bail bond is due and must be promptly paid.
As an Orange County bail bonds agent, paying too many forfeited bail bonds will spell financial disaster. It is important that you are able to recover your losses via the co-signer. Because a bail bond agreement is a legal and binding contract, you can always pursue any financial losses by taking legal action. When physical property has been used as collateral, selling the property at auction will help you recover the majority of your losses. Property used to secure a bail bond must normally be valued at 150 percent or higher of their total value to be considered. If a bail bond is forfeited, the property is sold and the proceeds used to cover the lost bail bond. Amounts over and above the cost of the bond are then returned to the co-signer.
An Orange County bail bonds agent has several ways to recover their losses when it comes to defendants who fail to appear. While each case is different, it is important to know the basics when it comes to the best possible methods of recovery.