When a friend or family member gets arrested, it’s natural to want to help that person. One of the first opportunities to help is co-signing a bail bond. While co-signing a bond can help your friend or relative avoid unnecessarily sitting in a jail cell, it comes with significant responsibilities that need to be understood before you add your John Hancock to this binding bond agreement.
The Bail Bond Co-Signing Process
Co-signing a bail bond for a friend or family member is a straightforward process, but it’s crucial to understand the terms you agree to. Although you may have prior experience with bail bonds, co-signing for someone comes with its unique commitments and responsibilities. When a judge grants a person bail, most individuals use a bondsman to help pay. A co-signer vouches for the arrestee and becomes liable for them until the bond terms are met. When you co-sign on a bail bond, you are telling the bail bondsman that you trust this person enough to ensure that they make court appearances and all other terms of the bond.
What Does Co-Signing a Bail Bond Entail?
The first step in co-signing a bail bond is deciding whether you can fully trust the person or not. A bail bond is a legally binding agreement, and although there are steps you can take down the line if there’s a change in circumstances, it’s best to put some thought into it before initially signing. Once you’ve made the decision, read and grasp all documents so you know exactly what you are signing. A professional bail bond company won’t try to hide anything, but you should always be familiar with your agreement. If you have any questions, always discuss them with the bail bondsman for clarification.
As the bail bond company is taking on a risk for each bond, you will also be expected to provide a couple of things to the bail bondsman for proof that you can pay if the bond is broken. Depending on the company, you may be asked to provide proof of employment, financial records, credit scores, or possibly proof of residency. In some cases, you may even be asked to provide collateral that will be returned when the terms have been met or forfeited if they’re not. After co-signing, you’ll need to pay the bond premium before your friend or relative is released, and then you’ll need to make sure they make all appearances, pay all fines, and follow any other stipulations.
What are the Pros and Cons of Co-Signing a Bond?
Co-signing a bail bond can save your friends or loved ones from having to sit in jail, where they may miss work, not be able to fulfill parental obligations, and possibly be in a dangerous situation. On the other hand, when you co-sign this agreement, you are taking responsibility that the defendant will obey all terms. Unfortunately, if the defendant skips out on court dates or refuses to pay fines, you will be responsible for paying the full bail amount, and your friend or relative will be returned to jail. You should be aware that if you realize your friend or relative isn’t going to follow the agreement after signing, you can request to have the bond withdrawn, the individual will return to jail, and you won’t have any consequences. The withdrawal request must come before a bond violation.
Work with a Professional Bail Bond Company in Palm Beach County
If a friend or relative has been arrested and asks you to co-sign their bail bond, it’s a serious decision that needs careful consideration. Although the inclination might be to help automatically, you don’t want to put yourself in a bad situation. If you are unsure about committing, reach out to a reliable bail bondsman in Palm Beach County to discuss the process and answer any further questions.