When a defendant is released on bail, failing to appear for a required court appearance is a very serious matter. When this happens the judge will “revoke” the bond and a bench warrant will be issued for their immediate arrest. Warrant screens are conducted regularly during traffic stops, at airports, at border entries, during employment processes and at various other occassions. If a defendant fails to appear in court they could be arrested on any day, at any time, for any reason.
In some cases people miss court unintentionally. If a defendant gets stuck in traffic, gets a flat tire, has a sick child to attend to or simply forgets, this can be easily fixed. They will simply need to call their bondsman as soon as possible and ask for something called a reassumption of liability. This is a piece of paper that will need to be brought to the court which will allow the warrant to be lifted. It will also allow the bond to be reinstated and their court date to be rescheduled.
If the defendant decides to flee the bondsman will do everything they can to locate the defendant on their own. They may contact friends, family members, or even the employer. If the bondsman is unsuccessful they may retain the services of a fugitive recovery agent. Should this happen the person who signed the bail bonds contract may be liable to cover the costs associated with this effort.
The good news is these instances are few and far between. Nationally, the failure to appear rate is extremely low and 98% of those who bail out through the assistance of a bondsmen return to court when required.