What if my bail was forfeited?

If a defendant does not come to court when required to do so, the judge may order that bail be "forfeited," or kept by the City. There is a procedure, called "remission of forfeiture," which allows a person who posted bail to apply for it to be returned if it has been forfeited. Some people hire a lawyer to do this, but you can do it on your own if you cannot afford a lawyer. Keep in mind that there is a strict deadline for a "remission of forfeiture" application: you must apply within one year of the date that the court ordered the bail forfeited. If the bail was forfeited in Supreme Court (a felony case), the application must be made to the court that issued the forfeiture order. If it happened in Criminal Court (a misdemeanor case), the application is made to a Supreme Court judge in that county.

An application for "remission of bail" must be made in writing. If you are proceeding without a lawyer, you should ask the court clerk for instructions about how to proceed.