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Is the Bail Money Forfeited if a Person On Bail is Re-arrested

/ Mike Tayler

Bail Money

Police in the US made more than 13,000,000 arrests last year. Many of those arrests were for infractions that required a person to be bailed out unless they wanted to spend perhaps months in jail while awaiting their day in court. Most people are familiar with the concept of bail although many harbor misconceptions and questions about how it actually works. One of the biggest issues on the minds of people who bail out loved ones is this: “What happens if the person I bail out is re-arrested while awaiting trial? Am I responsible to pay the entire bail amount to the bondsman?” It’s an important issue and we’ll address it below.

The Chain of Responsibility

When a person is released from custody on a bond it’s the responsibility of the bonding agent and the indemnitor (the person that signed for the bail bond) to ensure the accused shows up for all their scheduled court dates. If the accused fails to appear bail is revoked. In that case the bail agent loses the money they put up to secure the bond and they then turn to the indemnitor to recoup their losses. Since the indemnitor signed a contract stating they would cover the bail agent in just such a circumstance they are legally responsible to reimburse the bail agent for their loss. That might also include the cost of hiring a bounty hunter to track down the fugitive and return him to custody.

The Effect of Being Re-Arrested on the Bail Bonds Process

While the indemnitor ultimately takes the hit if someone they bailed out fails to show up in court it’s a different story if the person out on bail is re-arrested. In that case both the bail company and the indemnitor are relieved of any liability toward the accused. And that is true whether the accused was arrested for a bail violation or for allegedly committing a new crime. In either case they are relieved of responsibility. This falls under the heading “surrendering the bond”, which means that the person is now back in custody and the original bond is no longer applicable. While the fee the indemnitor paid the bail agent is non-refundable the indemnitor is not responsible for the entire bond amount as they would be if the accused simply failed to show up for their court date.

For the Record

The indemnitor has the right at any time to surrender the bond. That is, they can decide at any time while their friend or loved on is out on bail awaiting trial to cancel the bond agreement. In which case the accused will be returned to jail to await trial and the indemnitor’s responsibility will be finished. This sometimes happens if an indemnitor becomes convinced the person they bailed out is preparing to flee. By surrendering the bond the accused is quickly returned to custody and the indemnitor doesn’t suffer the financial hardship of having to pay the entire bond cost for someone who ran from justice. Again though, the premium that was paid to the bail bonding agent is non-refundable.

The Implications for the Accused

While both the bail agent and the indemnitor are cleared of responsibility should the defendant be re-arrested while out on bail, there are a couple of serious implications for the accused.

  • Voiding of any settlements - When someone on bail is re-arrested there is a good chance any plea bargain the defendant’s lawyer may have been working on with prosecutors will likely be voided. If there were any financial settlements being contemplated or worked out they too may also be ditched. The best a defendant can likely hope for in such situations is that prosecutors will be in a generous mood and agree to work on a new plea agreement (one that will no doubt be much less accommodating to the defendant) and that any financial arrangements that were in the works may remain on the table in the interest of seeing that the aggrieved party is properly compensated.
  • Crime bail crime - No it’s not the title of a Hollywood movie. It’s what happens when a person who was accused of committing a felony and was bailed out is re-arrested on suspicion of committing yet another felony. In that case the defendant may have more time added to their sentence for the original crime. On top of facing prosecution for the second felony itself. It’s also likely that the court will ask for a substantially higher bail or refuse to grant bail again after the re-arrest.


It is always in the best interest of all parties involved for the person who has been released on bond to adhere to all the conditions of their release and that they show up for their scheduled day in court. If, however, a defendant is re-arrested while out on bail the consequences for the indemnitor are not as severe as they would be if the defendant simply skipped bail. Still, no one wants to see a loved one compound their problems by behaving badly while out on bail. So it’s the responsibility of both the bail bonds agent and the indemnitor to impress upon the accused the importance of staying the course.

If you have any questions related to the bail process or need to secure a bond for a friend or loved one, contact Tayler Made Bail Services today. We serve the entire Jefferson County, Arapahoe County and Denver County areas and are always here to help.

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(303) 623-0399
3900 South Federal Blvd
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