Bond Forfeiture in Travis County
If you have bonded out of jail, either through a personal bond or a surety bond, that bond can be revoked and an order for your arrest can be mandated if you have forfeited your bond. If you have a bond forfeiture and/ or a warrant for not complying with bond conditions, call our office as soon as possible so we can get your bond reinstated and avoid any jail time and civil suits as a consequences.
Avoiding A Bond Forfeiture
To avoid a bond forfeiture, it is important that you:
Show up for all court dates
A condition of your bond is that you be present to each one of your court dates. It is your responsibility to attend court and not be late, even if your lawyer is going to court for you as well. That is why it is very important that you be aware of all of your pending court dates and times. If you fail to show up for your court date in a misdemeanor case the judge can forfeit your bond, increases the amount of the bond and issues a warrant for the your arrest.
However, if you fail to show up for your Felony case the consequences are more severe. The district attorney could file a felony bail jumping charge. This is unlikely where only one court date is missed and through counsel you can quickly get your case back on the docket in good standing. Under Texas Penal Code, Section 38.10, bail jumping is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison, and/or a $10,000 fine.
Complete all conditions regarding a personal bond
Sometimes, a condition of a personal bond will be to do counseling classes, or to have ignition interlock installed in your vehicle. Of course, a given condition is to not commit any new offenses while out on bond, so a new offense can also result in your bond being forfeited. If there is a condition of your bond, and you do not complete that condition in the time allowed, a judge may revoke your bond, issue a forfeiture and order a warrant for your arrest.
Bond Forfeiture Civil Suits
Once your bond is forfeited you not only face a warrant and a certain amount of time in jail, you also face a civil suit to recover the amount of the bond forfeited. As a general rule, the Travis County Attorney’s office will file a civil suit against 45 days after the bond forfeiture is entered.
A civil suit can be avoided if the bond forfeiture is set aside within 30 days of its issuance. However, if the forfeiture is not set aside, the County Attorney’s office will file the civil suit and start the clock ticking for settlement of the suit. Typically, the fees for settling a civil bond forfeiture lawsuit are the costs of filing the suit, the state’s attorney fees, and, in most cases, 5 percent per month of the amount of the bond. These fees are in addition to the cost of hiring your own lawyer to handle the settlement.
If you already know that your bond has been forfeited, you should hire an attorney as soon as possible to set the forfeiture aside, stop or settle the civil suit, and get your case back on the docket.