Whenever you are bailing out a friend or family member, each bail bond company you contact will require a co-signer. When a friend or family member is arrested, it often happens quickly and unexpectedly and you will want to get that person out of jail as soon as possible. As a result, you may not understand what exactly you are signing. Here is everything you should know about co-signing a bond before you sign.
What is a Bond Co-Signer?
A Co-signer, also known as an “indemnitor,” is someone to compensate for any potential loss or damage; or to provide security for financial reimbursement to an individual in a case of a specified loss incurred by the person.
To break it down and help you understand a little better, a co-signer is someone who financially obligates themselves to the full amount of the bond in the event the defendant does not appear in court.
What are your responsibilities as a co-signer?
- Ensure the defendant appears in court: You, as the indemnitor (co-signer), are expected to return the defendant to all court dates that are required by the court. Many times people misunderstand and think that they are only responsible for the first or the next court date immediately following an arrest. This is not true. No matter if the case only lasts a couple weeks or a couple years. Once you sign the paperwork with the bail bond company, you are responsible for the defendant appearing in court.
- Liable for additional fees: If the defendant misses court, the indemnitor could be responsible for any additional fees. This typically includes the hiring of a recovery agent by the bail bond company to locate the defendant and surrender him/her to the proper authorities.
- Forfeiture of total bond amount: In the event the defendant misses court and cannot be located, the court will issue judgement and forfeit the bond posted by the bail bond company. At which time the bail bond company will take the proper steps to collect the rest of the bail amount from the co-signer. If collateral was used, that property or money will be converted to cash to satisfy the debt.
Best Practice: Make sure you know all the facts before you co-sign
Honor your agreement
When you sign on the dotted line you are entering a contract with a bail bond company as the co-signer and are expected to hold up your end of the deal. You can’t change your mind or try to alter conditions. However, in some circumstances accommodations can be made.
Get all the facts
Although different bail bonds agency’s may operate similarly, it’s important that as a potential bond co-signer you know all of facts. What exactly are you responsible for? Are there payment plans? It’s easy to rush into something without asking questions, but the best possible thing you can do for yourself as the co-signer is to get as much information from the bail bond company as possible before you decide.
For more information on co-signing bonds, or the bail bonds process in general, please contact us at (800) 372-2245 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.