Lesser known terms of bail bonds

Bail bond forfeiture

Bail bond forfeiture results when conditions of bail aren't met or court appearances are missed by an accused individual. Once a person charged with a crime misses the court date, a bench warrant is issued for their arrest. The court also states a forfeiture date on which the bail amount must be paid if the charged person isn't found.

The forfeiture of a bond or the setting aside of such a forfeiture are usually discretionary decisions within the realm of the court. In deciding how much, if any, of the bond to forfeit, when defendant fails to appear before the court, the court may consider such factors as:

  1. the willfulness of the defendant’s violation of bail conditions;

  2. the surety’s participation in locating and apprehending the defendant;

  3. the costs, inconvenience, and prejudice suffered by the state as a result of the violation;

  4. any intangible costs;

  5. the public’s interest in ensuring a defendant’s appearance; and

  6. any mitigating factors.

Bail clause 

Bail clause refers to a clause in the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which prohibits excessive bail. Eighth Amendment prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines or cruel and unusual punishments. Bail must not be so heavy as to exceed the capacity of the defendant to pay; yet it may be set sufficiently high as to guarantee a person's appearance for trial at a later date.

Eighth Amendment's proscription of excessive bail has been assumed to have application to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment. [Schilb v. Kuebel, 404 U.S. 357, 365 (U.S. 1971)].

Bail Commissioner

Bail Commissioner is a person appointed by the state who may set the amount of bond for persons detained at a police station prior to arraignment in court. S/he recommends to the court the amount of bond that should be set for the defendant on each criminal case. The appointment of bail commissioners is made by the concerned district courts. A bail commissioner has to undergo a bail training program and will be appointed only on successful completion of the training.

Bail exoneration

Bail exoneration means the termination of the obligation of bail. It refers to a situation where you get your bail back. When a criminal case is resolved by termination of the criminal proceedings or by the surrender of the defendant into custody, the depositor or surety is relieved of their obligation and is entitled to return of the deposit. After bail exoneration a bail bondsman or an insurance company is not responsible for the person’s bail.

Bail in error

Bail in error is a security given by a defendant who intends to bring a writ of error on a judgment and desires a stay of execution in the meantime. A writ of error is issued by an appellate court directing a lower court judge to deliver the record in the case for review and examination. The purpose of this writ is to obtain a reversal of the judgment.

Bail-point scale

Bail-point scale refers to a system for determining a criminal defendant’s eligibility for bail. Under a bail-point scale, a defendant either will be released on personal recognizance, or will have a bail amount set according to the total number of points given. However, a bail-point scale is given based on the defendant’s background and behavior.



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