If someone you care about has been arrested and is in jail awaiting trial, co-signing a bail bond can be a way for you to get them out from behind bars while they wait for their court date. If you’ve never co-signed for a bail bond, you may wonder how it works and if it’s the right choice for you to make. Before signing any forms, you’ll want answers to a lot of questions about the bail bonds process. It’s important to know as much as you can about what it means to co-sign a bond before you take the responsibility involved.
What is a Co-Signer?
Co-signing a bail bond is a big responsibility. When you put your signature on the form, you’re making the following promises:
- The premium for the bond will be paid in full.
- You’ll ensure the defendant will show up at all court hearings and fulfill any other requirements set out by the bond.
- You’ll pay the full amount of the bond if the defendant doesn’t obey their court orders.
While theoretically, anyone who knows the defendant could co-sign a bond, the bondsman will be more likely to accept a co-signer with a strong relationship to the defendant. Family members, spouses, co-workers, and longtime friends usually make the best candidates. Before you co-sign a bail bond, you should consider these three questions:
- Do you have a good credit history?
- Do you have steady employment?
- Do you trust the defendant to show up in court?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to all three of those questions, you may be a good candidate to co-sign a bond. But before you sign the forms, you should know your responsibilities and your rights as a co-signer.
Co-Signer Rights and Responsibilities
Co-signing a bond means you’re helping someone you care about from being kept behind bars before their court hearing. It gives them the freedom to go back to their jobs, be with their loved ones, and keep important appointments until a verdict is reached. Being a co-signer can provide a lot of good for a defendant. It also comes with certain responsibilities.
You’re responsible for the defendant. You’ll need to ensure they appear at all of their court dates and meet any other requirements set by the bail bond. And you’re financially responsible for the premium on the bail bond as well as paying back the bond in full if the defendant doesn’t appear in court. This may be paid back in cash, credit card payment, or with collateral such as real estate or vehicles, among other things.
You have rights and ways to protect your finances in some situations. You can set certain stipulations for the defendant before co-signing. Common stipulations are that the defendant will need to have a mental health evaluation or attend a drug treatment program. You have the right to cancel the bond if you suspect the defendant will not appear in court or will not meet the requirements set by the bond. In that situation, the defendant will have to return to jail. If the defendant misses their court date or commits another crime, you’ll need to contact the bondsman as quickly as possible. Communication and speed are critical because the bond will be recalled and in default in such a case.
It’s important to work with an experienced bail bondsman if a loved one is arrested. At River City Bail Bonds, we can help you understand the bail bond process, walk you through your co-signing options, and decide if it’s the right choice for you to make.
We’re here to help when you need to post a bail bond. Contact our office today. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.