Paying bail can help get your arrested loved one out of jail. The problem is that bail can get expensive. But as you have to release your beloved at any cost, you may turn to a bail bond company for help. This is where you may have to co-sign a bail bond. As usual, you will have a few questions before signing on the dotted line. You want to know more about the procedure, and what your signature binds to.
Here are some answers to your queries:
1. Can anyone co-sign a bail bond?
It’s not anybody who can become a co-signer because it has to be a close friend or family member. You also have to meet some requirements like having a stable job and be reliable.
2. What are a cosigner’s responsibilities?
Your signature brings with it lots of responsibilities. With a bail bond being binding, you have to ensure you understand what you are signing for.
You are responsible for the arrestee and make sure they attend court hearings. Besides, you are also financially responsible for them. You especially will be liable for the bail bond amount if they don’t appear in court.
The bondsman may ask for collateral to ensure payment or that the defendant will appear in court. Collateral examples are assets like your home or gold. Don’t worry, the bondsman will return it to you once the case is over.
Advantages and disadvantages if you co-sign a bail bond
Despite the overwhelming responsibilities, there are some co-signing advantages. The biggest advantage is getting your beloved out of jail. Besides, most bail bonds company asks you to pay only 10% of the bail amount while co-signing. So you do save lots of money.
The main disadvantage is paying the entire bail amount if the defendant absconds. Besides, you even risk losing your collateral because of his unreliability.
Factors to keep in mind before you co-sign a bail bond
It’s not enough to know its related pros and cons. There are a few things you need to know before co-signing.
• It can affect your credit
Always read the contract and understand its terms and conditions. This is because most bail bond companies may make credit inquiries. This is to determine your suitability as a cosigner.
If there’s nothing mentioned if they will be using the credit rating factor or not, then do ask them about it. And make them give a written request for your credit inquiry. Remember, you may have to face legal action if you don’t honor your obligations as a cosigner.
• Do maintain records of everything
Don’t rely on your memory to remember the bond’s terms and conditions. You can ask for copies of all papers signed as a cosigner. So do ask the bail agent for copies if they don’t offer it. The records will prove helpful, especially if it’s a long-term commitment or if there’s a problem.
• Your obligations last till the case ends
Many people assume that a cosignor’s responsibility ends after the first court appearance. This is wrong because the bond is binding through the trial proceedings. In short, you as a cosigner are liable till court dismisses or proves the arrestee not guilty.
You never know when this may happen. It may take days, weeks, months or in some cases, years. With co-signing leading meaning a long-time commitment, think twice before cosigning.
It’s not only the credit affects a forfeited bail bond contract you have to know. There is also the risk of the forfeited bond leading to a long civil suit, or you in jail. All unresolved civil judgments from the defaulted contract harm your life, with many serious repercussions.
It can affect your employment and complicate the renewal of professional licenses. In extreme cases, there’s a chance of it resulting in the court seizing your personal property. So beware of these consequences of forfeiture before becoming a cosigner.
• You should know that the signing the bond releases the accused.
• Cosigning the bond and paying the premium amount posts the bond.
• You can make requests for the accused like sending to rehab or a mental consultation.
Obligations and rights of cosigners
Luckily you as a cosigner have your obligations and rights. This means it’s possible for you to opt-out of signing if you are uncomfortable with the arrangements.
So if you feel your beloved may miss court hearings or still do wrong things then you can speak to the bail bond agency. You have the right to cancel the bond. The person thus ends up in jail while you don’t have any financial penalties to worry about.
Do ask yourself a few questions before co-signing a bail bond. Ask yourself if you trust the arrestee enough to attend all court hearings. Be careful if the person has a history of not attending court. This is a red flag which means you should think twice about whether you should cosign the bond or not.
Also, ask yourself if you can afford to pay the bond amount if the arrestee skips the court hearing. The bail amount may be high in some cases. If you can’t afford to pay back the entire amount, then it’s better to think whether you should cosign or not.
The most important point to consider, and be sure about is if the arrestee will attend court hearings or not. It’s better to co-sign only if you are definite that they will attend court and not leave you stranded.
Contact Josh Herman-A Bond Agency for your bond needs
Now that you know that the pros and cons of co-signing, you have to decide whether to cosign or not. Decide based on your beloved’s commitment levels and if you can fulfill the contract obligations.
Remember, cosigning a bail bond is a lot of responsibility. If you still have some questions, Josh Herman’s bail bond agency can help you. You can rely on us, with our combined experience of more than 75 years in the industry. Give us a call for your answers.