Category Archives: Bail

Interstate Extradition Bonds

Jeff Downer  When an arrest warrant is issued there are instances when the defendant is arrested on the warrant while in another state.  The process of transferring the defendant to the state which issued the warrant is called extradition.

The extradition procedure is governed by the Uniform Extradition Act (UEC) and is recognized by all 50 states.  The defendant may waive going through the procedure or as part of due process the defendant may also challenge being extradited.   If the extradition is challenged the court will set a hearing to hear arguments as to why the defendant should not be extradited.  The setting of the hearing date must allow the defendant time to adequately prepare.

Per the UEC, while awaiting any hearing or extradition surrender date the defendant must be permitted to post bail:

Unless the offense with which the prisoner is charged is shown to be an offense punishable by death or life imprisonment under the laws of the state in which it was committed, the judge must admit the person arrested to bail by bond or undertaking, with sufficient sureties, and in such sum as he deems proper, for his appearance before him at a time specified in such bond or undertaking, and for his surrender, to be arrested upon the warrant of the governor of this state.

Note that an extradition bond is meant only to insure appearances during the extradition process.  Once a defendant is extradited, another bail bond may be required for release while awaiting trial for the underlying case.

Posted in Bail, Fugitive, National, Warrant. Tagged with , , .

Can Bail Be Posted on Out of County Holds?

Jeff Downer  There are instances when when someone is arrested in one county on a warrant issued by another county.  After such arrests the defendant is transported to the local jail to await transfer to the jurisdiction which issued the warrant.  This scenario is described as being held on an out of county hold.

One of the first questions always asked is whether a bail bond can be posted immediately or must the defendant be transferred before bail may be made.  The answer is the defendant must be transferred to the county from which the warrant is issued before any bail bond may be posted.

That is not to say that occasionally a county may decline to come fetch the defendant or the underlying reason for the warrant cannot be addressed resulting in the release of the defendant prior to any transfer.  An example of this circumstance could be the defendant has unpaid financial obligations to the court such as fines and costs.  It may be possible in this situation to pay the fines and costs and have the warrant recalled.

The bottom line is that when a person is arrested on an out of county hold, be prepared to for a wait of several days before the defendant will be eligible to be released on bail.

Posted in Bail, Bail Bonds, Fugitive, Jail. Tagged with , .

Do Failure to Appear Warrants Expire?

Jeff Downer  A question often arises as to whether warrants issued for failure to appear in court will expire after a certain period of time.  The answer is no.

A wishful thinking defendant may hope that by failing to appear and remaining in a fugitive status for a long enough period of time will create some type of statute of limitations scenario where their case will magically disappear, and they will become immune from further prosecution on the matter.

Indiana failure to appear law is quite clear on this subject.  Any warrant issued for failing to appear in court (whether the case be a misdemeanor or a felony) does not come with an expiration date.  The warrant will remain in effect until the defendant is returned to face the court.

IC 35-33-2-4 Expiration; reissuance      Sec. 4. A warrant of arrest for a misdemeanor expires one hundred eighty (180) days after it is issued. A warrant of arrest for a felony and a rearrest warrant for any offense do not expire. A sheriff who has an expired warrant shall make a return on the warrant stating that it has expired and shall return it to the clerk of the court that issued it. The clerk shall enter the fact that the warrant has expired in his records and shall notify the prosecuting attorney of the county that the warrant has expired. Upon request of the prosecuting attorney, the court shall issue another warrant.

Failing to appear on a criminal case may buy some time on the run living as a fugitive, but it will not purchase a resolution to the case.

Posted in Bail, Fugitive, Law. Tagged with , , .

Is Failure to Appear a Crime?

Jeff Downer  Is a defendant’s failure to appear on a criminal case considered a separate criminal offense in it’s own right?  In most states and jurisdictions the answer is yes.

What this means is that not only will a failure to appear warrant be issued for current case, an entirely new criminal charge of failure to appear can be pursued against the defendant.  Commonly, the seriousness of the new failure to appear charge will depend upon the charge levels in the originating case.

In Indiana, this is how the failure to appear charge levels are determined:

  •  If the the original case consisted of misdemeanor charges then the failure to appear would be charged  as a Class A misdemeanor.
  • If the the original charges were felonies then the new failure to appear charge would be pursued as a Class D felony.

The key takeaway here is that failing to appear not only risks incurring the ill will of the court but also running the risk facing even more criminal charges.

Posted in Bail, Fugitive, Law. Tagged with , , .

A Salute to a Bondsman Who Charged into Harm’s Way

Jeff Downer   Gerald Madrid, a New Mexico bail bondsman, was playing the flute during morning mass at St. Jude Thaddeus, a Catholic church in Northwest Albuquerque, when a man entered the church and began attacking the choir director with a knife.

Mr. Madrid immediately leapt to the defense of the director and was seriously injured while successfully protecting him.  He tells his story in this CNN interview.

Well done Mr. Madrid.  Your actions make the bail bond community proud.  Godspeed on your recovery.

Posted in Bail, Bondsman, Video.

Posting a Bail Bond After a Failure to Appear

Jeff Downer  Defendants who fail to appear (FTA) and become fugitives are a fact of life.  Since the insuring a defendant’s risk of failing to appear is the basis of the commercial bail industry, posting the bail of someone who has chosen to become a fugitive and subsequently been returned to court can be problematic.

While considering the effects of bonding someone out of custody after a FTA, think of a car insurance.  A car insurer assumes financial responsibility for damages caused in automobile accidents.  The occurrence of car accidents is going to change the dynamics of the relationship between the car owner and the insurance company.  Things are going to be different after an accident and may include:

  • The cost of insurance can increase.
  • The deductible may become larger
  • The policy can be cancelled.

In bail bonding a FTA, like a car accident, is going to change the dynamics of the bail bondsman and defendant relationship:

  • More premium may be required for a new and larger court ordered bond amount.
  • Cash collateral may now be expected.
  • Additional co-signers could be necessary.
  • Real property could be required to secure the bail bond with a mortgage.
  • Conditions such as check ins and electronic monitoring may be put in place.
  • The bonding company may decline to post any further bail for the defendant.

Keep in mind the court is going to have final say in the matter and is under no obligation to let the defendant out on bond again.  If the judge permits another bail bond, amounts can be increased and the court may impose additional conditions of its own.

All the above is not to say on occasions such as being hit by a bus on the way to court can’t result in the judge and the bonding company agreeing to adhere to the original bond and conditions, but it is important to remember that will take place at their option and not the defendant’s.

Posted in Bail, Business, Fugitive. Tagged with , .

Using Someone Else’s Name When Arrested

Jeff Downer  There are those who believe there is some benefit to using someone else’s name or an alias when being arrested. The fact is that any benefit is short lived at best and creates even more long term problems in this age of extensive integrated automated fingerprint identification (IAFIS) database networks and post 9/11 diligence.

How?  The most important thing to bear in mind is that within the criminal justice system, people are literally numbers, not names.  These numbers are associated with fingerprints, pictures and other unique physical identifiers of the person actually arrested and become part of nationwide computer databases.  Whatever alias name or names that are used simply become notations attached to those identifying numbers.

Using multiple names is no different than changing one’s hairstyle or getting a new tattoo.  Besides, having more than one legitimate name is hardly unusual within the criminal justice system, consider those folks who have maiden and married names.  Their identification number still doesn’t change when they marry.

Then there are the long term problems that arise with using different folk’s identities.  Now the system can earmark that person as deceptive and, as such, untrustworthy.   This earmark can have negative repercussions when setting bail and determination of a sentence.  This stigma can remain beyond the initial instance of using an alias.  Also there are the hassles which must be sorted out for any friend or family member whose name may have been used (usually by obtaining a certified document they not the individual associated with that case).

The fact is you cannot escape yourself by using an alias.

Posted in Bail, Fugitive, Law Enforcement. Tagged with , .

Bail Bond Exoneration

Jeff Downer  When a court finds that the obligations of a bail bond are discharged and liability on the bond is released, it is called exoneration.  Simply speaking, exoneration means the bail bond is no longer in effect.

In the vast majority of cases, exoneration occurs when the case is disposed of by the court.  Case dispositions take the following forms:

  • Sentencing
  • Finding of not guilty
  • Enrollment into a diversion program
  • Dismissal of all charges

There may instances of a bail bond being exonerated prior to disposition because the defendant has become a flight risk or violated conditions of release.  Per Indiana Code here are the steps a bail bondsman must take to return a defendant to custody and request the court for exoneration:

IC 27-10-2-6
Surrender of defendants; detention; exoneration of sureties
Sec. 6. (a) The person desiring to make a surrender of the defendant shall be provided a certified copy of the undertakings and a certified copy of the arrest warrant forthwith by the clerk of the court having jurisdiction and shall deliver them together with the defendant to the official in whose custody the defendant was at the time bail was taken or to the official into whose custody the defendant would have been given if committed, who shall detain the defendant in the official’s custody thereon, as upon a commitment, and shall acknowledge the surrender in a written certificate.
(b) The court having jurisdiction of the offense shall order that a surety be exonerated from liability for an undertaking and that any money or bonds deposited as bail be refunded when the person surrendering the defendant has:
(1) presented to the court both of the documents described in subsection (a); and
(2) given to the prosecuting attorney:
(A) three (3) days notice; and
(B) copies of both of the documents described in subsection (a).
As added by P.L.261-1985, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.348-1995, SEC.2.

Bear in mind that exoneration is not the same thing as a bail bond expiring after certain period of time.  In situations where cases are slow moving, a bond set to expire can be renewed and the defendant allowed to remain free.  Find here an explanation of bail bond expiration.

Posted in Bail, Bail Bonds, Law. Tagged with .

Cautionary Tale About Following Conditions of Bail

Jeff Downer  When a judge determines the amount of a bail bond they often impose other conditions of release.  Such conditions can, among many things, include:

  • Electronic monitoring
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Curfews
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • No contact orders

Violating these conditions can and will result in the the revocation of bond and awaiting trial in jail.

Consider this incident reported in the American Bar Association Journal during a bond hearing in suburban Chicago.  It seems the defendant had violated the court ordered curfew by 22 minutes.  The judge increased the defendant’s bond from $2,000 to $75,000.  While protesting the judge’s decision the defense attorney was found to be in contempt, eventually being held in custody and fined $1,000.

Many judges don’t play around and in this instance a seemingly innocuous case of poor time management snowballed into some major courtroom drama.   The moral of this story?  If you want the the judge to like you (or you want the judge to like your lawyer), read and follow directions.

Posted in Bail, Bail Bonds, Legal. Tagged with , .

Heartthrob Arrested for Missed Court Date

Jeff Downer

Rick Springfield Arrested for Missed Court Date

-Rolling Stone

There is no truth to the rumor that Mr. Springfield was apprehended in a shopping mall after being cornered by a mob of screaming and fainting women of a certain age.

Posted in Bail, Fugitive, Smiles.