Bail bonds can be a risky business. Before bailing someone out of jail, bail agents in Maryland require collateral to ensure they will get paid if the defendant does not show up at required court hearings and becomes a fugitive. In Maryland, a bail bondsman has the authority to detain a defendant who has not appeared in court when required to do so. The bail bond agent can then produce the defendant in court.
When a defendant fails to appear in court as required, the court will issue a warrant for his or her arrest. The court will also issue a notice of forfeiture of the bail bonds. The court clerk is required to promptly inform the bail bonding company and the state’s attorney of this turn of events.
Forfeiture to Judgment
Under Maryland law, the bonding company is required to forfeit the amount of the bail bond 90 days after the notice of forfeiture is issued. However, if the bail agent produces the defendant before this deadline, the forfeiture order is stricken. The bail agent also has the option of requesting a deadline extension, which would bring the total period of time to 180 days.
To avoid forfeiture, the bail bondsman has the legal authority to track down the defendant and to detain him or her. Although a bail bondsman is not an officer of the law, he or she is legally allowed to pursue the defendant into any building, including private property, in order to arrest him or her. If the bail agent does indeed successfully retain custody of the defendant, he or she is allowed to detain the defendant for as long as necessary to turn him or her over to the proper authorities. While the bail agent is tracking down the defendant, he or she must have possession of paperwork that identifies his or her authority to engage in these actions. In addition, the bail agent may choose to hire bounty hunters to carry out these tasks. However, bounty hunters are not legally allowed to pursue fugitives into other countries and there are certain restrictions on crossing state lines.