Do you forfeit bail if you commit suicide before trial? (Need answer fast.)

Google doesn’t seem to know. Assume we’re in the United States (though obviously there could be differences from state to state).

When a case is no longer pending bail cannot be forfeited. Charges generally die with a defendant, so the effect is the same as if the charges are dropped.

In Texas, for example:

I presume the death of the defendant would be good cause for failure to appear.

I can only find an explicit citation for this under Indian law, though (see p. 235). India has a common law system based on the body of English and Welsh law, although this particular area of law is governed under its Code of Criminal Procedure.

There are any number of cases in the US where somebody faked suicide and subsequently forfeited bail for failure to appear when it was discovered that they were actually alive (such as pyramid schemer and Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu), but none in which the defendant actually offed himself. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure don’t cover this specific issue, and neither do Florida’s.


I’ve communicated with VarlosZ about the topic and he has said the “Need Answer Fast” part was a joke on his part.

Anyone concerned about this - he seems sincere about it. No worries.


I don’t know, but props for the best-ever use of the “Need Answer Fast” meme!

And for the quick answers. Don’t want to leave him hanging. :smiley:

I see what you did there. :dubious:

I properly LOLed and my roomie asked what was so funny. And I couldn’t explain.

For the record, I was not fooled. :wink:

Thanks to **RNATB **for the cites and the fast response; the info about Indian law is a particularly nice pull.

I thought not including a disclaimer with the joke was dickish: the message board equivalent of a 911 prank call (and no, I didn’t take it seriously either).

Sorry, I thought at the time that it would be obvious.

No apology expected from me but thanks anyway.

First reaction: Thanks for the laugh.

Then: If the guy kills himself after someone bonded him out, then it’s a damn valid question, since the person posting bond might be liable.


What prompted the question was a rerun of Law & Order — the detectives reveal to a suspect that they have him dead to rights for causing the deaths of a half dozen people, including several children, at which point he runs off to the bathroom and jams a pen into his throat. “Not an unreasonable course of action,” I thought, except the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Better to get out on bail and then dispose of yourself in a more dignified manner … unless, of course, you and your family have posted a huge bond that would be forfeit in the event of your suicide.

I assume the question is valid and I’ve worked for a bail bond agency and we’ve had clients die before their court date. You get the bond released by forwarding a copy of the death certificate to the county clerk or whatever jurisdiction may be required.

It’s real easy as long as you have the death certificate, to get your bail back.

The whole point of bond is to assure the person appears in court. If he/she can’t appear, you get your money back. Bond is not randsome.

However the bond agency always gets it’s percentage regardless of the case, that can vary from 5% to 15%. So in otherwords if bond is $10,000 for example, the bond agency I worked for charge let say 15%. We’d keep $1,500 if regardless. That’s the fee for putting up the bond regardless if the guy is innocent, guilty or dead.

Nitpick: ransom.

I had a client on bail die once. No problem going to court to get the bail money released. Of course, most bail is posted by a professional bonding company, and they get to keep the fee (usually 10%) regardless. But you can at least get your collateral released.