What Happens if I Post Bail for Someone and They Flee?

If you’ve posted bail for someone, you’ve just signed a lawful contract guaranteeing the individual, known as the defendant will appear on the scheduled court date. If they fail to appear in court, you will be held liable for the bail amount. If the cause for not showing is unintentional due to situations like an accident or illness the court may reschedule. However, willfully fleeing is a crime and it will be charged as a felony against the defendant.

If they flee or jump bail, as the signer, you are accountable and required to help the bondsman locate the defendant. You also become responsible for any fees the bondsman incurs to locate the defendant along with any additional costs, if the bondsman needs to hire a bounty hunter to apprehend the defendant and return them to jail.

In most situations, the bail is guaranteed by a sole signer, yet there are times the contract includes a co-signer. Understand there are no special conditions or limitations in a co-signer bail contract in the eyes of the court. Whether it’s a friend or family, the financial burden shifts to both signers, and in many cases personal cash or property is used as collateral for the bail bond. If the defendant fails to show as ordered by the court, a warrant is issued for the defendant’s arrest and the bail amount is forfeited to the court. You lose the money and the collateral used may be seized. If everything proceeds as scheduled and the defendant shows up, the bail money is returned less the bondsman’s fee, which is usually about 10%.


Something to keep in mind, the bail bond is legally enforced, whether the court order is a single date or a lengthy trial. You are responsible for the duration of the trail to ensure the defendant appears each day as required. Should the individual flee, you’re not charged criminally. It’s a civil offense and you’re responsible for the bail amount and any costs determined by the court pertaining to the case are assigned to you as the signer.

Bail conditions are standard, depending on the issue and the judge can order more stringent conditions. The judge also has the authority to lower and increase the bail amounts based on the issues and crime. Other conditions imposed by the court are revoking the bail, and ordering the individual to be arrested and returned to jail.


The purpose of bail is to allow an individual’s release from confinement with the assurance the individual will appear in court as ordered. Rather than wait for the meeting with the judge to request release, depending on the state, the jail system has a bail schedule that specifies the amount according to the charge. The individual can expedite their release by paying the determined amount.

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