If you know someone who was arrested and needs help getting out of jail, they may ask you to cosign on a bail bond for them. Before you agree to take on this responsibility, it is essential to understand what it means to sign and use your assets as collateral for a bail bond for someone else.
#1: You Are Taking on Responsibility for the Defendant
When it comes to cosigning on a bail bond, it is vital to understand you are not just taking on a financial obligation; you are taking on a responsible for the person the bond is for, henceforth referred to as the defendant.
You are taking on responsibly for the defendant. You are agreeing you are going to help make sure they make it to their court dates. If they don't make it to their court dates, you are going to face financial consequences. So, you are taking on responsibility for the defendant, and you agree to help make sure they follow all the terms of their bail.
This is a big responsibility, and you need to make sure you are willing to take on the responsibility of taking care of another person. It is important to note you are responsible for the defendant throughout the whole criminal proceedings, so you should only take on this responsibility if you are committed to helping that person show up for all their hearings until the case is resolved.
#2: You Are Taking on a Financial Responsibility
Second, you are taking on a financial responsibility when you agree to cosign on a bail bond.
You are taking on the responsibility of paying a fee to the bail bond agency. That fee is usually paid upfront, although some businesses may allow you to make payments on this charge. This isn't money you will get back; this money is non-refundable, and you are not going to see it again.
You are also taking on the responsibility of paying the remaining balance of the bond if the defendant breaks their bail conditions and doesn't show up to court. If so, the bail bond company can come after whatever you are putting up as collateral for the bond's full amount.
You must be willing to pay a non-refundable fee and hand over the collateral if the defendant breaks the terms of their bail.
#3: You Can Add Stipulations to the Bond
Since you are taking on a big responsibility by being a co-signer on a bond for someone, you have the right to add stipulations to the bail bond. For example, you can require that the defendant does a certain action, and if that action is not met, your responsibility for them ends.
Standard co-signer stipulations include things such as requiring the defendant to stay away from someone, maintain a job, or get treatment for an issue they are facing.
Before you cosign on a bail bond, make sure you are ready to take on that big responsibility. You are taking on financial responsibility, as well as a responsibility for the defendant. You can add stipulations to the bond that the defendant must follow.
Contact a local bail bond agency to learn more about bail bonds.