A bond forfeiture is a hearing to determine whether a defendant is legally mandated to forfeit property or monies used as collateral to bond out of jail, notes USLegal. If forfeited, the assets used for bond become the property of the local jurisdiction prosecuting the defendant.
A bond forfeiture hearing occurs after a defendant fails to attend a court date or violates a condition of his release. At this hearing, the judge must determine whether the defendant had a valid reason or extenuating circumstance that prevented him from being present for his court date or adhering to the conditions of his release, according to USLegal. If this cannot be determined in court, the judge enters a warrant for the defendant's arrest.
If the court is unable to locate and incarcerate the defendant in a specified amount of time, a bond forfeiture hearing is scheduled. Forfeiture only applies to the violation of a condition of release if both parties agreed to it when the bond was established, reports USLegal. Forfeiture does not apply if a situation occurs that is beyond the defendant's control, such as a condition of release or a court date for which he was not given notice to appear.