After an arrest, a person is taken to the police station and is held in custody until they pay the bail or are released on their own recognizance. With bail, a person pays a certain amount of money (a collateral), so they can be released, but this serves as an agreement to return to court on a designated date to face their charges. When a person attends all the scheduled court dates, the bail is returned after deducting administrative costs. But what happens when a person does not attend the court date?

This is known as “bail jumping”, or failure to appear in court

After a person fails to attend the instructed court date, the prosecution will issue a warrant for arrest. Suppose the person facing charges does not show up in court in a reasonable time or fails to provide the court with a reason for their absence. In that case, the prosecution can file an additional charge against the defendant: Failure to Appear. This can add a misdemeanor or felony offense to the list of charges – which depends on the pending accusations. 

What happens to the defendant’s bail money after failing to appear in court?

Additionally, not showing up to a court appointment after posting bail results in the county keeping the bail money. Bails can reach six or seven figures depending on the offense and can be a substantial financial loss. 

What are your options after failing to appear in court?

The options include:


  • Reporting to jail 
  • Hiring an attorney to help you withdraw the failure to appear warrant and set a new court date.
  • Hiring an attorney to help you file a motion to surrender in the courtroom (instead of jail) in order to avoid another round of arrest records, fingerprints, and mugshots.
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