The Bond Forfeiture Unit is ensures that criminal defendants appear in court for their hearings. This is achieved through the enforcement of statutes regulating the forfeiture of bail bonds. The County Attorney's Office forfeits all surety, personal recognizance and cash bonds in the County Courts at Law and the District Courts of El Paso and pursues the judgments through collection. The Unit's responsibilities are:
All collected funds are deposited in the County's general fund to defray the operating costs of County government. Forfeiture of appearance bonds results in the simultaneous issuance of warrant for the arrest for the criminal defendant and the initiation of a civil lawsuit aimed at collecting the forfeited bond. Criminal defendants and their sureties are served with a Judgment Nisi, which is a petition to forfeit the bond. Final judgments are entered in the amount of the bail bond plus costs of court unless the Defendant or his surety is able to show good cause for the Defendant's failure to appear in Court. Judgments for less than the full amount of the bond may result from the return of the Defendant to court prior to the entry of final judgment.
Citizens are encouraged to notify the County Attorney's Office of the whereabouts of any criminal defendant who has missed his/her hearing in a criminal case. The criminal defendant's arrest may be avoided by his voluntary reappearance and resolution of the outstanding bond forfeiture proceeding.
A defendant wishing to resolve his bond forfeiture case should contact his or her bondsman or go to the County Attorney's Office on the 5th Floor of the Courthouse. The Settlement Policy for bond forfeiture cases is public information. For more information call the Bond Forfeiture Unit at (915) 546-8105.