If your friend or colleague is behind bars, you may feel obligated to help them out. However, some responsibilities come with co-signing bail bonds. Here is what you need to know before bailing a person out of jail.
Collateral Is Required From You
Bail bonds are a form of insurance policy. The bail bond is paid to the jail on the condition that the defendant will attend all their court dates. The bail bondsman charges a commission, usually 10% to 15% of the entire bail amount. In many cases, they require the co-signer to provide collateral.
Therefore, if the defendant doesn't honor their court dates, you are obligated to pay the total bond amount. The collateral you have provided will be liquidated to settle the bond.
Your Responsibilities as a Co-Signer
As a co-signer, one of your first responsibilities is to ensure the person released from jail attends all their court dates. If the defendant misses a court appointment, you are responsible for paying additional charges.
If the person you bailed out tries to run, a recovery agent will be hired to return them to custody. You will be liable for the cost of hiring this agent.
Your Rights as a Co-Signer
There are measures you can take to secure yourself when co-signing a bail bond. First, you can require that the person being released from custody go through a mental health evaluation. You may also insist that they go to an alcohol or drug treatment center. This guarantees you that the defendant is of sound mind and will not jeopardize the bail agreement.
Additionally, you can stipulate that the bond be withdrawn if the defendant continues engaging in illegal activities. Therefore, if the defendant is re-arrested, you aren't liable for paying the recovery agent or the entire bail amount.
Aspects to Consider Before Co-Signing a Bail Bond
Before you commit yourself to co-sign a bail bond, there are factors you should bear in mind. First, review your relationship with the defendant. Assess whether they are trustworthy and responsible enough to honor the terms of the bail agreement.
Another thing you should consider is where they live and their family's residence. Also, review their work history and their capacity to pay you should your collateral be liquidated to settle the entire bail amount. Lastly, make sure you go through all the terms and conditions of the bail bond agreement before appending your signature.