Can You Lose Your Home If You Put it Up As a Bail Bond?

If you post bail using your house as an asset, you run the risk of losing your home. If a defendant cooperates with the courts and does not run away, the deed to your house will be returned to you. However, if the defendant runs away and cannot be found within a certain amount of time, the bail is forfeit and stays with the courts, at which point the court can evict you and sell your house to pay for the bail.

Bail

When a person is arrested, he is taken to jail and then to a hearing with a judge. After assessing the severity of the crime and the defendant's likelihood of flight, the judge decides if the person should be released on bail, and if so, how high the bail should be. Bail is the amount of money or property that a person must leave with the court as a guarantee that he will return for his court date.

Bail Bonds

The defendant can call a bond agent (someone who posts the bail for a fee) or a friend or relative to help with the bail. The defendant can post bail using his own resources or a friend, relative or other person can post it in the defendant's name. Courts accept cash, checks, credit cards, deeds to houses, cars or other property and sometimes other assets. When bail is posted, the defendant signs a pledge to return for his court date and cooperate with the court or lose the bail. The pledge is a bail bond.

Refunds

If you used your house to get yourself or someone else out of jail, the bond will be canceled once the case is complete. The defendant must show up for her court date and be present throughout the trial (if there is one; many cases are thrown out or the defendant is released on probation prior to trial, at which point the deed to your house would be returned to you).

Losing Your House

There is a possibility that you will lose your house if you put it up for bail. If the defendant does not show up for her court date, an arrest warrant is issued and the defendant has a small window of time (usually one to three months) to appear in court. If the defendant is not found, the bond is forfeit and the court keeps your house.

references