Below are the most current bail laws we have for this state. Send updates to your state's bail laws to us using our contact form. This is not legal advice as laws change all the time. Please check with the department of insurance for the most recent updates.
1. Applicable Statutes
The Department of Insurance is the regulatory body.
2. Licensing Requirements
Professional bondsmen must comply with the following for licensure:
Professional bail companies must receive an annual authorization order from the presiding circuit judge of the county in which the company desires to execute bonds. To do so, they must comply with the following:
3. Notice of Forfeiture
If the defendant fails to appear, the court will enter a conditional judgment against the surety. Notice of this judgment will inform the surety that the judgment will become final unless the surety appears on a stated date to show cause for the defendant’s failure to appear. Notice of the conditional judgment must be issued within 90 days to the defendant and the sureties.
[Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-81, 132]
4. Forfeiture to Judgment
If at any time it appears to the court that a defendant fails to appear, the court shall so notify the principal and any surety and shall require the principal and any surety to show cause by filing a written response with the clerk of the court within twenty-eight (28) days of the date of service of the notice why the bond should not be forfeited. [ARCrP Rule 7.6]
If a written response is filed within the time allowed, the court shall set a hearing to determine whether the bond should be forfeited. If at the hearing the violation is not excused for good cause, or if, after twenty-eight (28) days from the date of service of the notice, no written response has been filed, the court may enter an appropriate order or final judgment forfeiting all or part of the amount of the bond or cash deposit, which shall be enforceable as any civil judgment. [ARCrP Rule 7.6]
5. Defenses to Forfeiture
The defendant or sureties, or both, shall file a written response with the clerk of the court within 28 days of the date of service of the notice why the bond should not be forfeited. If a written response is filed within the time allowed and the court is of the opinion the written response is sufficient, the court shall set aside the conditional forfeiture. If the court is of the opinion the written response is not sufficient, the court shall set a hearing to determine whether the bond should be forfeited. The hearing shall not be set less than 90 days of the service of the conditional forfeiture order.
The court may take into consideration the circumstances provided to the court and continue any final forfeiture hearing to another day and time allowing the sureties more time to apprehend the defendant. [Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-131]
If the surety locates the defendant and causes the return of the defendant to custody after the forfeiture has been paid and the administration of justice has not been thwarted nor the successful prosecution of the defendant has been affected, then the court shall have full power and jurisdiction within a period of six (6) months from the date of issuance of any final forfeiture judgment to remit the amount of the bail or any part thereof minus costs to the state. [Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-139]
7. Bail Agent’s Arrest Authority
In order for a surety to arrest a defendant, the surety must request from the court a “bondsman’s process.” This is a document authorizing the defendant’s arrest. [Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-124]
After the entry of conditional judgment against any surety on an undertaking of bail, he may arrest the defendant as provided in Section 15-13-62, but such arrest and delivery of the defendant to the sheriff shall not exonerate the surety unless, in the judgment of the court, a good and sufficient excuse is given for the failure of the defendant to appear at the time the conditional judgment was entered. [Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-63]
8. Noteworthy Appellate Decisions
Briner v. City of Midfield , 831 So.2d 53 (Ala.Civ.App.,2002).
A municipality brought action against a bonding company in an attempt to enforce alleged conditional bond forfeitures, and the bonding company then claimed that city failed to give proper notice of the conditional forfeitures. The Jefferson Circuit Court entered summary judgment in favor of the city. The bonding company appealed. The Court of Civil Appeals held that city’s method for service of process of conditional forfeiture of bond notices did not comply with state’s Bail Reform Act. The city did not serve timely notice upon the bail bond company (within 90 days) nor did it receive the proper signature of the bonding agent acknowledging service.
State v. Blake , 642 So.2d 959 (Ala.1994).
The provisions of the Bail Reform Act of 1993 relating to the “bondsmen’s process” requirements for the arrest of a defendant were found to be constitutional. The court found that as stated in the act, a surety has the power to arrest a defendant to ensure the defendant’s appearance at trial.
Jones v. City of Opelika , 242 Ala. 24, 4 So.2d 509 (Ala.1941).
An appeal may be made from a final judgment in proceeding for forfeiture of a bail bond.
9. Bounty Hunter Provisions
Alabama does not have provisions regarding bounty hunters.