California Bail Forfeiture Periods

Bail Bond Forfeiture Laws For The State of California

bail forfeiture

Note: Laws change, local rules often apply, and judges interpret and apply laws differently. Verify all information. Golden State Bail accepts NO LIABILITY for the accuracy of the following information.

PENAL CODE SECTION 1305-1308

1305. (a) A court shall in open court declare forfeited the undertaking of bail or the money or property deposited as bail if, without sufficient excuse, a defendant fails to appear for any of the following:
  1. (1) Arraignment.
  2. (2) Trial.
  3. (3) Judgment.
  4. (4) Any other occasion prior to the pronouncement of judgment if the defendant's presence in court is lawfully required.
  5. (5) To surrender himself or herself in execution of the judgment after appeal.

However, the court shall not have jurisdiction to declare a forfeiture and the bail shall be released of all obligations under the bond if the case is dismissed or if no complaint is filed within 15 days from the date of arraignment.

(b) If the amount of the bond or money or property deposited exceeds four hundred dollars ($400), the clerk of the court shall, within 30 days of the forfeiture, mail notice of the forfeiture to the surety or the depositor of money posted instead of bail. At the same time, the court shall mail a copy of the forfeiture notice to the bail agent whose name appears on the bond. The clerk shall also execute a certificate of mailing of the forfeiture notice and shall place the certificate in the court's file. If the notice of forfeiture is required to be mailed pursuant to this section, the 180-day period provided for in this section shall be extended by a period of five days to allow for the mailing.

If the surety is an authorized corporate surety, and if the bond plainly displays the mailing address of the corporate surety and the bail agent, then notice of the forfeiture shall be mailed to the surety at that address and to the bail agent, and mailing alone to the surety or the bail agent shall not constitute compliance with this section.

The surety or depositor shall be released of all obligations under the bond if any of the following conditions apply:

  • (1) The clerk fails to mail the notice of forfeiture in accordance with this section within 30 days after the entry of the forfeiture.
  • (2) The clerk fails to mail the notice of forfeiture to the surety at the address printed on the bond.
  • (3) The clerk fails to mail a copy of the notice of forfeiture to the bail agent at the address shown on the bond.

(c) (1) If the defendant appears either voluntarily or in custody after surrender or arrest in court within 180 days of the date of forfeiture or within 180 days of the date of mailing of the notice if the notice is required under subdivision (b), the court shall, on its own motion at the time the defendant first appears in court on the case in which the forfeiture was entered, direct the order of forfeiture to be vacated and the bond exonerated. If the court fails to so act on its own motion, then the surety's or depositor's obligations under the bond shall be immediately vacated and the bond exonerated. An order vacating the forfeiture and exonerating the bond may be made on terms that are just and do not exceed the terms imposed in similar situations with respect to other forms of pretrial release.

(2) If, within the county where the case is located, the defendant is surrendered to custody by the bail or is arrested in the underlying case within the 180-day period, and is subsequently released from custody prior to an appearance in court, the court shall, on its own motion, direct the order of forfeiture to be vacated and the bond exonerated. If the court fails to so act on its own motion, then the surety's or depositor's obligations under the bond shall be immediately vacated and the bond exonerated. An order vacating the forfeiture and exonerating the bond may be made on terms that are just and do not exceed the terms imposed in similar situations with respect to other forms of pretrial release.

(3) If, outside the county where the case is located, the defendant is surrendered to custody by the bail or is arrested in the underlying case within the 180-day period, the court shall vacate the forfeiture and exonerate the bail.

(4) In lieu of exonerating the bond, the court may order the bail reinstated and the defendant released on the same bond if both of the following conditions are met:

  • (A) The bail is given prior notice of the reinstatement.
  • (B) The bail has not surrendered the defendant.
  • (d) In the case of a permanent disability, the court shall direct the order of forfeiture to be vacated and the bail or money or property deposited as bail exonerated if, within 180 days of the date of forfeiture or within 180 days of the date of mailing of the notice, if notice is required under subdivision (b), it is made apparent to the satisfaction of the court that both of the following conditions are met:
    • (1) The defendant is deceased or otherwise permanently unable to appear in the court due to illness, insanity, or detention by military or civil authorities.
    • (2) The absence of the defendant is without the connivance of the bail.

(e) In the case of a temporary disability, the court shall order the tolling of the 180-day period provided in this section during the period of temporary disability, provided that it appears to the satisfaction of the court that the following conditions are met:

  • (1) The defendant is temporarily disabled by reason of illness, insanity, or detention by military or civil authorities.
  • (2) Based upon the temporary disability, the defendant is unable to appear in court during the remainder of the 180-day period.
  • (3) The absence of the defendant is without the connivance of the bail.

The period of the tolling shall be extended for a reasonable period of time, at the discretion of the court, after the cessation of the disability to allow for the return of the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court.

(f) In all cases where a defendant is in custody beyond the jurisdiction of the court that ordered the bail forfeited, and the prosecuting agency elects not to seek extradition after being informed of the location of the defendant, the court shall vacate the forfeiture and exonerate the bond on terms that are just and do not exceed the terms imposed in similar situations with respect to other forms of pretrial release.

(g) In all cases of forfeiture where a defendant is not in custody and is beyond the jurisdiction of the state, is temporarily detained, by the bail agent, in the presence of a local law enforcement officer of the jurisdiction in which the defendant is located, and is positively identified by that law enforcement officer as the wanted defendant in an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury, and the prosecuting agency elects not to seek extradition after being informed of the location of the defendant, the court shall vacate the forfeiture and exonerate the bond on terms that are just and do not exceed the terms imposed in similar situations with respect to other forms of pretrial release.

(h) In cases arising under subdivision (g), if the bail agent and the prosecuting agency agree that additional time is needed to return the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court, and the prosecuting agency agrees to the tolling of the 180-day period, the court may, on the basis of the agreement, toll the 180-day period within which to vacate the forfeiture. The court may order tolling for up to the length of time agreed upon by the parties.

(i) As used in this section, "arrest" includes a hold placed on the defendant in the underlying case while he or she is in custody on other charges.

(j) A motion filed in a timely manner within the 180-day period may be heard within 30 days of the expiration of the 180-day period. The court may extend the 30-day period upon a showing of good cause. The motion may be made by the surety insurer, the bail agent, the surety, or the depositor of money or property, any of whom may appear in person or through an attorney.

(k) In addition to any other notice required by law, the moving party shall give the prosecuting agency a written notice at least 10 court days before a hearing held pursuant to subdivision (f), (g), or (j), as a condition precedent to granting the motion.

1305.1.

If the defendant fails to appear for arraignment, trial, judgment, or upon any other occasion when his or her appearance is lawfully required, but the court has reason to believe that sufficient excuse may exist for the failure to appear, the court may continue the case for a period it deems reasonable to enable the defendant to appear without ordering a forfeiture of bail or issuing a bench warrant.

If, after the court has made the order, the defendant, without sufficient excuse, fails to appear on or before the continuance date set by the court, the bail shall be forfeited and a warrant for the defendant's arrest may be ordered issued.

1305.2.

If an assessment is made a condition of the order to set aside the forfeiture of an undertaking, deposit, or bail under Section 1305, the clerk of the court shall within 30 days mail notice thereof to the surety or depositor at the address of its principal office, mail a copy to the bail agent whose name appears on the bond, and shall execute a certificate of mailing and place it in the court's file in the case. The time limit for payment shall in no event be less than 30 days after the date of mailing of the notice.

If the assessment has not been paid by the date specified, the court shall determine if a certificate of mailing has been executed, and if none has, the court shall cause a notice to be mailed to the surety, depositor, or bail agent whose name appears on the bond, and the surety, depositor, or bail agent whose name appears on the bond shall be allowed an additional 30 days to pay the assessment.

1305.3.

The district attorney, county counsel, or applicable prosecuting agency, as the case may be, shall recover, out of the forfeited bail money, the costs incurred in successfully opposing a motion to vacate the forfeiture and in collecting on the summary judgment prior to the division of the forfeited bail money between the cities and counties in accordance with Section 1463.

1305.4.

Notwithstanding Section 1305, the surety insurer, the bail agent, the surety, or the depositor may file a motion, based upon good cause, for an order extending the 180-day period provided in that section. The motion shall include a declaration or affidavit that states the reasons showing good cause to extend that period. The court, upon a hearing and a showing of good cause, may order the period extended to a time not exceeding 180 days from its order. A motion may be filed and calendared as provided in subdivision (i) of Section 1305. In addition to any other notice required by law, the moving party shall give the prosecuting agency a written notice at least 10 court days before a hearing held pursuant to this section as a condition precedent to granting the motion.

1305.5.

Notwithstanding Sections 85, 580, 904.1, and 904.2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the following rules apply to an appeal from an order of the superior court on a motion to vacate a bail forfeiture declared under Section 1305:

  • (a) If the amount in controversy exceeds twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), the appeal is to the court of appeal and shall be treated as an unlimited civil case.
  • (b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), if the amount in controversy does not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), the appeal is to the appellate division of the superior court and shall be treated as a limited civil case.
  • (c) If the bail forfeiture was in a felony case, or in a case in which both a felony and a misdemeanor were charged, and the forfeiture occurred at or after the sentencing hearing or after the indictment or the legal commitment by a magistrate, the appeal is to the court of appeal and shall be treated as an unlimited civil case.

1305.6.

(a) If a person appears in court after the end of the 180-day period specified in Section 1305, the court may, in its discretion, vacate the forfeiture and exonerate the bond if both of the following conditions are met:

  • (1) The person was arrested on the same case within the county where the case is located, within the 180-day period.
  • (2) The person has been in continuous custody from the time of his or her arrest until the court appearance on that case.

(b) Upon a showing of good cause, a motion brought pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 1305 may be filed within 20 days from the mailing of the notice of entry of judgment under Section 1306.

(c) In addition to any other notice required by law, the moving party shall give the applicable prosecuting agency written notice of the motion to vacate the forfeiture and exonerate the bond under this section at least 10 court days before the hearing.

1306.

(a) When any bond is forfeited and the period of time specified in Section 1305 has elapsed without the forfeiture having been set aside, the court which has declared the forfeiture shall enter a summary judgment against each bondsman named in the bond in the amount for which the bondsman is bound. The judgment shall be the amount of the bond plus costs, and notwithstanding any other law, no penalty assessments shall be levied or added to the judgment.

(b) If a court grants relief from bail forfeiture, it shall impose a monetary payment as a condition of relief to compensate the people for the costs of returning a defendant to custody pursuant to Section 1305, except for cases where the court determines that in the best interest of justice no costs should be imposed. The amount imposed shall reflect the actual costs of returning the defendant to custody. Failure to act within the required time to make the payment imposed pursuant to this subdivision shall not be the basis for a summary judgment against any or all of the underlying amount of the bail. A summary judgment entered for failure to make the payment imposed under this subdivision is subject to the provisions of Section 1308, and shall apply only to the amount of the costs owing at the time the summary judgment is entered, plus administrative costs and interest.

(c) If, because of the failure of any court to promptly perform the duties enjoined upon it pursuant to this section, summary judgment is not entered within 90 days after the date upon which it may first be entered, the right to do so expires and the bail is exonerated.

(d) A dismissal of the complaint, indictment, or information after the default of the defendant shall not release or affect the obligation of the bail bond or undertaking.

(e) The district attorney or county counsel shall:

  • (1) Demand immediate payment of the judgment within 30 days after the summary judgment becomes final.
  • (2) If the judgment remains unpaid for a period of 20 days after demand has been made, shall forthwith enforce the judgment in the manner provided for enforcement of money judgments generally. If the judgment is appealed by the surety or bondsman, the undertaking required to be given in these cases shall be provided by a surety other than the one filing the appeal. The undertaking shall comply with the enforcement requirements of Section 917.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Notwithstanding Sections 85, 580, 904.1, and 904.2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, jurisdiction of the appeal, and treatment of the appeal as a limited civil case or an unlimited civil case, is governed by Section 1305.5.

(f) The right to enforce a summary judgment entered against a bondsman pursuant to this section shall expire two years after the entry of the judgment.

1306.1.

The provisions of Sections 1305 and 1306 shall not affect the payment of bail deposits into the city or county treasury, as the case may be, pursuant to Section 40512 of the Vehicle Code in those cases arising under Section 40500 of the Vehicle Code.

1307.

If, by reason of the neglect of the defendant to appear, money deposited instead of bail is forfeited, and the forfeiture is not discharged or remitted, the clerk with whom it is deposited must, at the end of 180 days, unless the court has before that time discharged the forfeiture, pay over the money deposited to the county treasurer.

1308.

(a) No court or magistrate shall accept any person or corporation as surety on bail if any summary judgment against that person or corporation entered pursuant to Section 1306 remains unpaid after the expiration of 30 days after service of the notice of the entry of the summary judgment, provided that, if during the 30 days an action or proceeding available at law is initiated to determine the validity of the order of forfeiture or summary judgment rendered on it, this section shall be rendered inoperative until that action or proceeding has finally been determined, provided that, if an appeal is taken, an appeal bond is posted in compliance with Section 917.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(b) The clerk of the court in which the judgment is rendered shall serve notice of the entry of judgment upon the judgment debtor within five days after the date of the entry of the summary judgment.