Co-Signing for bail bonds is serious business. There are several things that you need to consider before you co-sign a bail bond.
What is a bail bond?
A bail bond is a promissory note. The co-signing of a bail bond is a promise on the co-signer’s part that they will pay the bonding company a certain amount of money if the person that is being bonded out of jail does not appear in court at the specified date and time on the summons.
A bail bond involves a pledge by the co-signer to the bail company and the court. The pledge is in the form of tangible property such as cash, land, cars, boats, etc. The asset is lost if the person does not appear in court as they are directed. Bail bond companies work for themselves, the court, and the person who is incarcerated. The bail bond company’s primary responsibility is to the court first. The company must obey the court in order to stay in business.
A cosigner must be a resident of the state and county where the accused is being prosecuted. They must prove that they are a resident, have stable employment, and have good credit.
The cost of a bail bond is set by state laws and is usually ten percent of the bond. The ten percent is normally required to be paid up front if there is a cash bond. Other arrangements can be made if the only means of securing a bail bond is through property. Some bonds require that a person remain in a specific area and some do not. If court date is not met, or the accused flees the area, the bonding company can and will take the property or money from the co-signer. The money or funds gained through sale of the property are used by the bonding company to find the person who fled and return them to the court.
What responsibilities does a co-signer have?
The co-signer of a bail bond is legally required to make sure that the accused person gets to court at the date and time that the court requires (and in some cases also that the person stays in the state). The co-signer also has to deal with the bail bond company and not the court when they co-sign a bail bond. The legal instrument is considered a promise by the accused and the co-signer of the bail bond.
The co-signer of a bail bond can take action to protect themselves from financial loss and legal harm if they think the person that receives the bond is a flight risk.
The co-signer can request that the bonding company place added restrictions on the movement of the accused. The person who co-signed the bond is legally required to inform the bonding company if the accused has left the area where they are supposed to remain until their court date. The co-signer is not required to physically present the accused to the bonding company.
The cosigner can protect themselves in the event that the accused commits additional crimes or becomes involved in any criminal behavior. A report to the bonding agency of any criminal behavior will result in the accused being collected by the bonding agency and returned to jail.
A bail bond will get a person out of jail. The basic idea is the person can work and live normally while awaiting trial. Bonds are set for all but the most serious of crimes. The co-signer of a bail bond must be aware of their liability and legal obligations before they sign a bail bond.