Do Bail Bonds Expire?


Do Bail Bonds Expire?

Do Bail Bonds Expire ?

Every so often, I run across a criminal defense attorney in court asking, “Do bail bonds expire?” More often its during our conversation about the bail bond process and its procedure. Unfortunately, I find that the criminal lawyer has been either misinformed or mislead by some competitor in the past. Thus, by popular belief, many criminal attorneys and clients assume the client’s bail bond will expire on the one year anniversary or some future date. Sure, an unused bail bond has an expiration date of one year from the date of issue, but a client’s issued bail bond with the court never expires. At least this is true for the State of California. The bail bond or “power of attorney,” as known in the commercial bail industry, is a legal instrument (contract) promising the defendant’s appearance in court. The “face sheet”, is a letter size document accompanied with the bail bond. It outlines the defendant’s case information; court of jurisdiction, appearance date, bail amount, and conditions of bail pursuant to sections of the California Penal Code. In the example given below, there is no mention of any expiration date? Furthermore, the power-of-attorney or bail bond, is attached to face sheet when delivered to the county jail, detention facility, or courthouse. The bail bond does not indicate any expiration date as well. The illustrated power-of-attorney below is general example of what is used in the industry for the release of  an arrestee from jail.

Do Bail Bonds Expire When The Criminal Case is Over? 

When the criminal case is resolved, the bail bond will be exonerated by the prosecuting court. It doesn’t matter if the defendant is found guilty, not guilty, or the case dismissed, the bond will be exonerated and all co-signers will be relieved of the obligation to the bail bond amount. Again, do bail bonds expire after the exoneration? The answer is no, but all parties are no longer obligated to the bail bond or surety bail bond agreement. Once the bail bond company has received the certificate of exoneration by the court, they should send a copy of the document to the co-signer and prior defendant.

Do Bail Bonds Expire at All?

When an unused bail bond passes one year of issuance, it will expire and can’t be used any longer. In general, the bail bond company or bail bondsman will send the expired bail bond back top the surety insurer and it will be replaced with another bail bond. The inventory of bail bonds a company has is usually in different denominations and each bail bond or “power of attorney” has its own serial number. Thus, the serial number corresponds with the amount the criminal bond was written for and the client’s name. So, do bail bonds expire? Yes, but not the concern of the client or the co-singer and has no connection with the bail bond process and procedures.

6 thoughts on “Do Bail Bonds Expire?”

  1. LiMichael Swan

    I missed my original court date but a year later, I went to court to resolve the case. Said case was resolved not guilty.
    The Bail Bond company says I still owe the full bail amount for missing the original court date.
    Am I obligated to pay?

    1. Your questions is not clear, but I will attempt to answer your question. If you failed to appear and the court entered a summary judgement for the amount of bail against the insurance company writing the bond, you would be responsible for the total bail bond amount. I would pull the court records on your case and verify the actions the court k=has taken.

  2. So, is the client responsible for paying a renewal fee if the bond expires? And, what happens if the client doesn’t pay the renewal fee?

    1. Older surety bail bond contracts included a yearly renewal premium. Bail bonds expiration dates can be ambiguous, as some powers of attorneys (actual bail bond) have an expiration date and others don’t. The client may be contractually obligated to pay the renewal premium. I suggest in reading your contract thoroughly and consulting with a licensed attorney.

  3. I got bonded in Arkansas went to court although it was carried over the bail bonds company is now wanting to be paid because the court hasn’t released it.

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