Municipal Court Cash Bonds
Municipal Court cash bonds, forfeitures, and refunds
Overview of Municipal Court Cash Bonds
A cash bond is your promise to appear in court on your scheduled court dates.
Your promise is secured by the amount of the bond you post. If you do not keep your promise by appearing on your scheduled court dates, your bond may be forfeited, that is, lost to you.
Forfeiture of Bond
If a warrant is issued against you for a failure to appear after you have posted a bond, the judge will at the same time order a forfeiture of your bond. A letter will be sent to your last known address in our records. The address used will normally be the address shown on your citation unless you have properly informed us of a change of address.
The letter will inform you that a warrant has been issued for your arrest. It will also inform you that you have thirty (30) days after the warrant was issued to reinstate your cash bond.
When money is posted for a cash bond, that money becomes the property of the defendant for whom the bond is posted.
Because we send notices about your bond to your last known address, it is very important for you to tell us if you move. You can do that at the Customer Service window at 1520 Market, St. Louis, MO, 63103.
You will need to have a valid picture I.D. to update your address.
How to Reinstate a Forfeited Bond
If you have received a notice of bond forfeiture, you may reinstate your bond from forfeiture by coming to the Customer Service Counter before 10:00 AM Monday through Friday, and requesting to see a judge in order to request a bond reinstatement.
If you have not reinstated your bond within thirty (30) days of the date of your bond forfeiture notice, the court will enter a final judgment of forfeiture against your bond, and the forfeited money will be sent to the general revenue fund of the city. The court will normally not reinstate your bond after a final judgment of forfeiture has been entered.
What to expect
If the judge agrees to order reinstatement of your bond, you will be given another court date for your case. You must appear on all future court dates until your case is closed. If you do not, another forfeiture of your bond may ordered.
Get a Refund of Your Bond
You may be entitled to a refund to some or all of the cash bond that you posted If:
- you were required to post a cash bond on your case and
- your case has been dismissed, or
- charges were never issued, or
- you have been found not guilty after trial or
- the case you posted bond for has been fully paid and closed,
You may use your bond to pay a fine or court cost assessed against you by the court
If your case in court ends with an order for you to pay a fine and court costs, you may ask to have your bond applied to the fine(s) and costs assessed against you. If the amount of your bond is enough to cover your fine and court costs, that case will be closed.
If the amount of your bond is more than your fine(s) and court costs, you will be entitled to a refund of the balance of your bond money remaining after the fine(s) and costs are paid. Bond refunds will be payable only to the defendant unless otherwise ordered by the court.
If the amount of your bond is less than your fine(s) and court costs, you will be responsible for payment of the remaining balance of your fine(s) and costs.
Refund if You Are Found Not Guilty or Your Case is Dismissed
If you are found not guilty after a trial or your case is dismissed you may claim a refund of the full amount your active bond, unless your bond was previously forfeited or unless all or part of your bond has been applied to pay fines in other cases.
If you use your bond to pay all or part of an assessed fine, you may receive a refund of the remaining balance of your bond money, if any, after your payment is made.
Notification of Eligibility for Refund
When a bond becomes eligible for a refund, the court will send a written notice to the defendant at his or her last known address as shown on the bond, along with instructions to claim and receive a refund.
You must follow the instructions in the notice. If the notice is returned to the court as undelivered by the U.S. Post Office but the Post Office furnishes an updated address, the court will resend the notice to the updated address.
You may also visit the Customer Service window at the court located at 1520 Market, St. Louis, MO 63103 if you think you may be entitled to a bond refund.
You must have a valid I.D when you come to the Customer Service window.
For your protection, we furnish the instructions for claiming a bond refund only in a written notice mailed to your last known address or at Customer Service.
How to Obtain the Refund
If you are entitled to a refund, and follow the instructions given to you in your mailed notice or at Customer Service, we will mail your refund check to your last known address. It is important that you furnish us with a good address when you claim your refund so that we mail your refund to your correct address.
Unclaimed Bond Refunds
State law requires the court to send unclaimed bond refund money to the Missouri State Treasurer
If you do not claim and receive your bond refund within one (1) year after you become entitled to a refund, state law and Missouri Supreme Court rules require the court to send your unclaimed bond refund money to the Missouri State Treasurer.
Search the Missouri State Treasurer's Unclaimed Property online database to confirm you are eligible to receive unclaimed funds.
You will be asked to enter your First Name and Last Name.