There is a good chance that in your lifetime, a friend or family member will find themselves in jail. Arrests can happen to people from all levels of society. Since no one wants to see someone close to them locked up behind bars, you might find yourself helping to post their bail. A lot of the times, people will recruit a bondsman and need an additional signature to vouch for their credit. If someone asks you for your signature, you may be reluctant at first. It is important to first consider the risk of cosigning for a bail bond.
While you likely know it is wise to research any contract before you sign it, cosigning for a bail bond carries its own unique terms and risks. When the law apprehends people and a judge assigns them bail, they have the option to pay to get out while their trial continues. The cost of the bail can sometimes be very high, from several hundred to several thousand dollars or more. When people cannot afford to pay the court for their release, they hire the help of a bondsman.
A bondsman will cover the costs for a fee, usually 10%. They will usually require someone to cosign on the bond. This extra person is vouching for the credibility of the defendant, and is also taking the risk of having to pay the bonding company if anything goes wrong. Once they approve the contract, the jail releases custody of the defendant, who is then free to go back to their daily lives.
The court will issue special terms for the defendant to follow. The most primary term mandates that they meet all their court dates. On some occasions, they will also have to go to certain classes or meetings. These could be drug classes or alcoholics anonymous meetings. In addition, they might also have to check in with a government office and perform regular drug tests.
Should the defendant fail to do everything the court mandates, they will lose their freedom and the bonding company will lose their money. As a result, the company will seek repercussions to get their money back. This involves seeking reimbursement for the full amount of the bail from the defendant and the cosigner. As a cosigner, you are liable to pay the back the bondsman. It is a good idea to only cosign for a person if you know you can trust them to follow their court ordered requirements.