What Are My Responsibilities for Co-Signing a Bail Bond
Being a co-signer on a bail bond for a friend or relative is a huge responsibility. It is solely up to you whether or not you decide to commit your money and time to post another person's bond. When you fill out a bail bond application, you must pay a 10% non-refundable, non-negotiable, premium to the bail bonds agent. Always make sure you know and trust the person you are helping to make sure you don't get shafted in the end.
What Is A Co-Signer for a Bail Bond?
A co-signer for a bail bond is someone who is willing to use their time and money to obtain the release of a friend, co-worker or loved one from jail. Once a person is arrested and put in jail, they will be assigned a bail amount. When bail has been set, the defendant will call a friend or loved one and have them post their bond so they can be released from jail. The co-signer must complete the application and pay any fees that are required to fulfill the obligations of the bond so that the defendant can be released. The defendant can be his or her own co-signer if they have the funds to cover the premium.
What Are the Rights of a Co-Signer?
A co-signer has several rights. First and foremost, they have the right to NOT co-sign the bond. If they choose to do so, they will be responsible for the payment of the full amount of the bail bond if the defendant does not appear in court at the scheduled time or if they violate any stipulation the court has deemed necessary. The co-signer also has the right to revoke a bond once it has been posted. If the co-signer feels for any reason that the defendant may not appear in court or for some reason may harm themselves, the co-signer can contact the court and the bail bond agent and ask that the bail bond agreement be terminated and the defendant put back in jail.
What Are the Co-Signer's Responsibilities?
A co-signer's responsibilities involve making sure that every aspect of the bail bond contract is followed. This means making sure the defendant checks in as required by the bail bonds agency. This can be on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the agency. The co-signer is responsible for notifying the court and the bail bond agency of any changes in address or employment for themselves or the defendant. It is also the co-signer's responsibility to make sure that the defendant appears at all of their scheduled court hearings. When the bond is posted, the defendant and co-signer will receive a paper detailing the court's list of stipulations as well as the date of the defendant's first court appearance.
What Are the Drawbacks of Being a Co-Signer?
The main drawback of being a co-signer on a bail bond is if the defendant fails to fulfill his obligation to the court or does not appear at his scheduled court hearing, bail will be forfeited. If the defendant cannot be located and returned to the jail in a timely fashion, the judge will order the bail bonds agency to pay the full amount of the bail bond. When this happens, the bail bonds agent will turn to you to collect the entire amount. If you have used your home, vehicle or other valuable property as collateral, the court will seize the property and sell it to recover the cost of the bail bond. Any money that is left over and above the amount of the bail bond after the property has been sold will be returned to you. When you commit to being a co-signer for another person's bail bond, you become solely and completely responsible for the amount of the bond. In the end, you could lose much more than just a sum of money. Never co-sign a bond unless you are completely confident that the defendant will fulfill his or her obligations. When you discuss your concerns with a qualified bail bonds agent, they will be able to offer you sound advice when it comes to whether or not co-signing a bond is in your best interest.
If a friend or loved one has been arrested and asked you to be a co-signer on a bail bond, you need to know your rights and responsibilities. Once you become a co-signer, you have a duty to the court to help make sure the defendant complies with the rules of the court and appears at all of their scheduled court hearings. If you have questions and need to talk to a reputable bail bonds agent, call Ryan Wells Bail Bonds agency at 904-853-6450. Our agents serve the greater Jacksonville, Florida and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.