On September 30, 2014 the Honorable John W. Herron issued Administrative Governing Board Order 01 of 2014 granting the request of the City of Philadelphia to forego further collection of bail judgments issued before March 3, 2010 and directed the Office of Judicial Records to remove bail judgments issued before March 3, 2010 from its indices. Therefore, the Bail Judgment Index which was formerly available on this site has been removed. The September 30, 2014 order requires the Office of Judicial Records to record and maintain all bail judgments issued on and after March 4, 2010 in the Banner case management system. The First Judicial District will continue to accept payments on account of bail judgments issued on and after March 4, 2010 only until such time as arrangements are made for the City of Philadelphia to undertake collection of bail judgments as required by the September 30, 2014 order. .Click here for a copy of the order.
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Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure authorize the release of a defendant charged with a criminal offense on bail until the date of the trial. A Bail Bond must be signed and the person who signs it (the defendant or a third party including a relative) is known as the "Surety." The Bail Bond may require the Surety to post a percentage of the bail amount ordered (usually 10%). At times, although a Bail Amount is set, the defendant is permitted to sign his/her own bond ("SOB") or is released on his/her own recognizance ("ROR"). However, the Bail Bond requires the defendant to comply with certain conditions of release including appearing for every hearing scheduled in the case. The Bail Bond provides that if the defendant fails to appear for a scheduled court hearing, any bail posted may be forfeited and judgment for the full amount of the bail ordered can be entered as a judgment pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 536 (A)(2). Once bail is forfeited and/or a judgment is entered, the surety must pay the judgment balance, even if the charges against the defendant are ultimately withdrawn and even if the defendant is found not guilty of the offense(s) charged.
In order to vacate or reduce a bail judgment, a Motion to Vacate or Reduce Bail Judgment must be filed as provided by Pa.R.Crim.P. No. 536 and Philadelphia Criminal Rule * 536. Philadelphia Criminal Rule * 536 and Court of Common Pleas Administrative Order No. 01 of 2012 provide that no bail order sue-out which is reduced to judgment may be reduced or vacated except by the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas or a by a hearing officer. Rule *536 contains general guidelines for reduction of the judgment on forfeited bail based and also authorizes partial or full vacation of the bail judgment for good cause shown.
Generally, the bail judgment on the forfeiture shall be reduced if the criminal defendant returned to jurisdiction of the court based on the following timeline:
0 to 60 days: 90% * 61 to 90 days: 70% * 91 to 120 days: 50%
121 to 180 days: 30% * Over 180 days: 0%
The bail judgment on the forfeiture will be routinely vacated if the Defendant/Petitioner submits proof that the defendant was incarcerated or was an inpatient at a hospital on the date the defendant failed to appear for the scheduled court hearing.
For good cause shown, the judgment may also be reduced or vacated. In determining whether the judgment ought to be otherwise reduced or vacated, the court will consider the willingness of the defendant's failure to appear, the cost, inconvenience and prejudice suffered by Philadelphia County, the Commonwealth or the trial court, and any explanation or mitigating factors proffered by the defendant/petitioner.
More specific information can be obtained from the Motion to Vacate or Reduce Bail Judgment and Instructions both of which are available above.
PAYMENTS FOR BAIL JUDGMENTS
Bail Judgment payments cannot be made through ePay ().
UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2014 payments on account of Bail Judgments entered on or after March 4, 2010 can be made by mail or in person as follows:
First Judicial District Accounting Department, P.O. Box 37711, Philadelphia, Pa 19101-5011
Checks and Money Orders, Payable to "First Judicial District of PA"). Do not mail cash
9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Accounting Unit, 1401Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
Cash, Credit/Debit Card, Checks and Money Orders Payable to "First Judicial District of PA."
BEGINNING ON JANUARY 1, 2015, THE COLLECTION OF BAIL JUDGMENTS ISSUED ON AND AFTER MARCH 4, 2010 SHALL BE UNDERTAKEN BY THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, AND ALL PAYMENTS ARE TO BE MADE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WILL BE PROVIDED.