Know the Responsibilities of a Bail Bond Cosigner Before You Become One
A bail bond indemnitor, or cosigner, is a person with a serious legal responsibility. If your friend or loved one was just arrested, take the time to consider all the liabilities involved with being a cosigner before you sign the legally-binding contract to bail them out of jail. You can be held liable for hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars if they fail to abide by all court orders and bail conditions. Continue reading to learn what these responsibilities entail, and who to call for trusted bail bond information in your county.
Using a Bail Bond
Using a bail bond is the easiest and most affordable method for obtaining a release from jail. But when you are faced with the decision to get a friend or loved one out of jail, it is a decision you should never take lightly. That is because the legal liability attached to the bail bond contract is a serious undertaking, and whether or not you face the ramifications for those liabilities is all dependent on the choices of the person you are bailing out of jail.
Although you are only paying a fraction of the total cost of your loved one's bond premium, the bail bond agent is covering the rest of the amount. So if your loved one's bond amount was $10,000, and the bail agent charges a 10% fee, you will pay a non-refundable fee of $1000, while the bondsman pays the courts the remaining $9,000. So long as the defendant appears for all scheduled court hearings and follows all court orders, the agent gets their $9,000 back.
But if the defendant violates any conditions of the bail bond agreement or court orders, the bondsman does not receive the money back until they can get the defendant to appear on the judge's bench. They only have a certain time period to do this, and usually, they are unsuccessful. If this happens, you are responsible to pay the bondsman the remaining $9,000 as the contract stipulates. If you used collateral to purchase the bail bond, such as your car, boat, house, or other asset, you will have to forfeit that collateral.
Who to Sign For
To avoid any liability concerns, be sure you only cosign for people you know closely and who you can trust. Do not cosign for someone if you have not known the person for longer than a year, if they are unemployed, if they have a history of evading the law, if they have a criminal record, and if they are likely to commit further crimes or disobey court orders.