When someone you care about has been arrested, you will do whatever you can to get them out. This is why most of the time, people’s intense emotions and reactions can lead to misguided decisions. In order to get your loved one out of jail, you may be asked to pay bail. It can be expensive that is why contacting a bail bond company is the route most people go to.
In such cases, you may be asked to co-sign a bail bond to get your loved one out. Co-signing for a bail bond basically means that you obligate yourself to pay the full amount should the accused person will not appear in court. This decision is legally binding which is why you should know all the facts about bail bonds first before agreeing.
Below are four important things you need to know before co-signing a bail bond.
1. Some form of collateral may be required from you.
Co-signing a bail bond means that you are agreeing to hold the responsibility of the bond. If the defendant doesn’t appear in court, you can be obligated to pay for the entire bond amount. In some cases, collateral may be required. This can involve tangible properties such as cars, cash, homes, among others. This will ensure that the courts get their money if the bond forfeits (estreats).
2. You can include stipulations to the bond agreement.
As a co-signer, you can impose some precautions and request some stipulations before signing. In the bond agreement, you can require the defendant to undergo a mental health evaluation or receive an alcohol or drug treatment. You can also seek to have the bond withdrawn should the defendant continue to engage in illegal activities. In case the defendant is re-arrested, you can protect yourself from any legal implications.
3. It becomes your responsibility to make sure the defendant attends all court hearings.
The defendant needs to be present in all court hearings in order to honor the bond agreement. When you co-sign a bail bond, it becomes your authority and responsibility to ensure the defendant meets this court-mandated requirement. If the defendant does not appear in court hearings, you could be held liable for the entire bond amount to be paid. If all goes well, you will only have to pay a small percentage of the bail amount which is usually around 10 percent. As such, you need to co-sign a bail bond only for someone whom you can be sure will comply with the non-negotiable condition that is court appearance.
4. You will also need to meet certain requirements to be a co-signer.
As with any contract, all parties need to meet certain requirements to become co-signers. A bail bond is no exception. To be a co-signer, you will have to qualify and show proofs of employment, financial capability, residency, and more. Laws may vary by state.
Helping a friend or loved one get out of jail fast? Don’t make hasty decisions. Be smart about co-signing a bail bond!