Cosigning for a bail bond comes with a lot of responsibility. It's important that people who choose to cosign a bail bond understand what's expected of them. Some people think they sign and that's the end of their responsibility. However, there's more to it than that.
You Are Assuming Responsibility for the Defendant
A requirement of all bail bonds is that the person on bail shows up for all required court dates. You may understand that part, but as cosigner, you have to also make sure the person shows up.
If someone you signed for jumps bail, you may have to give up whatever collateral you promised. Sometimes, if the suspect misses a court date but shows up for the next one, you may still incur fees. It's important that you go over all the possible penalties to you before cosigning.
In some other cases, the court will expect you to help find the defendant if he or she jumps bail. Your cooperation may come as a stipulation of cosigning.
All of this means you should have a good relationship with the person you cosign for. You should know them well enough to know where you can find them on court dates. Can you locate them at other times when they need to appear during times mandated by the bail bond agreement?
You Have a Lot of Control Over the Process
If you're uncomfortable with some of the rules that come with being a cosigner, you should also understand that you do have some control over it. For example, you can cancel the bond and remove your collateral from being up for grabs.
You can also negotiate the terms of the bail bond. If you want to discuss using a different form of collateral, or suggest different terms for fees, you can do so. You can even request additional terms for the defendant, such as a stipulation that they attend a drug treatment program while out on bail.
Make Sure You Know What You're Getting Into
There's nothing wrong with cosigning to bail out a friend or family member. Just make sure you know what you're getting into. Terms and practices for bail bonds can vary from place to place, so don't just sign without fully discussing how the process will work for you.
If you're unsure, just ask a bail bonds service what they and the court will expect from you. They can clarify anything you don't understand. Talk with local bail bond services, like A Bail Now Bail Bonds, Inc., for more information and specific details.