Can a Bail Bondsman Refuse to Bail a Defendant Out?

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The short answer is yes. A bail bondsman can refuse to bail a defendant out. It’s a common occurrence in the industry.

But there’s more to this than just a simple hunch from a bail bondsman or the current mood he’s in.

When a bail bondsman refuses to bail a defendant out, he has already forged a deliberate risk-evaluation process from the beginning.

Here’s an example of a bail bond refusal and why it’s made:



It was a Friday night. A bail bondsman got a call from Mrs. Peters who is residing in Oklahoma.

Mrs. Peters: “Can you help my brother, George? He’s been arrested and brought to jail in Culver City.”

The bail bondsman then asks Mrs. Peters routine questions required in order to have a good knowledge of the situation the defendant’s in.

What’s the full name of the defendant? What is the defendant being charged with? What is his booking number?

And other pertinent questions that pertain to the assessment of “flight risk”, which includes the following:

  • Is he a U.S. Citizen?


  • Does he have strong ties to the community?


  • Does he have a stable job?


  • How long has he been working for that company?

3 months.

  • Where does he live? Is it owned or rented?

George lives with his sister, Mrs. Peters. He doesn’t own a house or any property and constantly moves from one state to another.


Basically, the bail bondsman will identify key factors that will enable him to conclude whether or not the defendant is deeply rooted in the community.

The bail bondsman then identifies the risks and carefully evaluates them – are they acceptable enough to pursue?

Since the risks were too high, he refused to bail out Mrs. Peters’ brother.

Mrs. Peters: “But we can pay the bond premium.”

Paying for the bond premium is only a single factor in the decision process.

Ultimately, if there’s a strong history or evidence that the defendant is too much of a flight risk, the bail bondsman will have the right to refuse service except as prohibited by the Unruh Civil Rights Act or the Unruh Act.

This means that the right to refuse service will not be based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.


Transferring risks to a bail bondsman


We mentioned “flight risk” a while ago as the main player in the refusal of a bail bond’s issuance. We’ll circle back to that in a while.

First, it’s important to know the role of a bail bondsman, specifically the bail bond company he’s with.

It cannot be denied that bail is an integral part of the criminal justice system. As much as the bail bondsman would like to help every bail-eligible defendant out, the bail bond company cannot take blind leaps of faith.

And here’s why:

The bail bond company will ultimately be responsible for the defendant. If the defendant skips bail, it’s the bail bond company who will pay for the full amount of the bail.

If the defendant has co-guarantors, they will be responsible for that. However, if the co-guarantors defaults on their obligation as well, the bail bond company will shoulder the entire bail amount.

For example, if the bail is set at $100,000, and the defendant flees, the bail bond company is legally responsible for paying the court the aforementioned amount.


About Flight Risk


Flight risk is the term used to describe a defendant who will most likely flee or not return to court if granted bail.

Remember that the primary purpose of bail is to make sure that the defendant will return to all his future trials once released from jail.

A defendant not showing up in court happens a lot. Although, most of the time, when they fail to do so, the reason for such is unintentional – an innocent mistake, if you will.

Regardless of the reason why, if the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail will be forfeited or taken by the court, and the defendant will be arrested.

A defendant’s flight risk is based on his or her circumstances alone. We don’t refuse to post bail because the cousin of the defendant, for example, failed to return to his court proceedings 10 years ago.

That is against our principle. The fault of one is not the fault of another.

If, however, the defendant who approached us has a strong history of skipping bail multiple times, there’s a chance that his request will be refused.

However, there are still conditions that need to be met that will enable us to reach a different conclusion.


Need more information about bail bonds? Contact us. We’re eager to help you in the best way possible.





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Bail Bonds Infographic
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