Legal Dictionary

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Forfeiture of Bail

A bail is forfeited when a defendant fails to appear, without sufficient excuse, for arraignment, trial, judgment, or any occasion prior to the pronouncement of judgment if the defendant's presence in court is legally required, or if the defendant fails to surrender in execution of the judgment after appeal. A judge must declare the bail forfeited in open court. Two scenarios can occur with bail forfeiture or bail loss: 1) the bail bond company must surrender the defendant to the court within 180 days with no financial consequences or pay the original posted bond to the court; or 2) a court order is issued allowing the court to keep the bail (provided to the court for or by the defendant or defendant's).