Bail bonds resemble other financial transactions when it comes to consigning.
What cosigning a bail bond means for you is that you are now liable for the amount of money if the person you are cosigning for defaults. This means that should the defendant fail to appear in court for his hearing then you as the cosigner are liable for the bail money and expected to fulfill the requirements of the bond to the court.
You may even have to sell some of your assets to raise the bail money or hand your friend over to the sheriff’s department so that they can have him in custody. Either of these options can be very difficult and so cosigning a bail bond is a decision you should carefully consider before making a move.
What Happens if the Person Jumps Bail?
So what happens when the person you’ve decided to cosign the bond for jumps bail?
This is usually where the problem begins.
The full bail amount is due and the bail bond service has to pay the amount to the court and recover it from you as the cosigner and the defendant. This can range from a few hundred dollars, which you may be able to raise from friends, to thousands of dollars that can force you to sell your assets (car, jewelry, clothes, and even house) to raise.
Cosigning also means you, instead of the bail bond company, become liable for the full bail amount. While a bail bond company, like Bob Block Bail Bonds, will pay the court the full amount, they’ll have to come after you to recover their losses.
Your Rights as the Cosigner
However, as the cosigner, you are also entitled to some additional rights because you are assuring the court that you’ll make sure the defendant attends all court sessions relating to his case, but you’d better be sure the defendant does not disappoint.
You can also negotiate with the bonding company for some stipulations to be met before cosigning.
For instance, you can ask for the defendant to attend a certain drug rehabilitation program or a mental evaluation to become sober or ascertain his mental health. If you discover that the defendant is going to skip bail, but has not yet fled the city, you can inform the bonding company of his whereabouts and request they withdraw the bond.
They will trace the defendant and lock him up in jail and you will be free of financial stress.
Your Promise as a Cosigner
Therefore, cosigning a bail bond is not something you just decide to do without knowing the consequences if the primary signer fails to show up to court. It is not just promising the court by word-of-mouth that the defendant will attend the court sessions as scheduled without you being financially liable for their failure to honor their promise.
If you are going to cosign a bail bond for your friend or family member, you’d better be sure they will show up.
Otherwise, the financial implications can be burdensome, sometimes forcing you to get into debt to settle their bail bond amount in full.
However, you can lay down some stipulations to be met before cosigning a bail bond. On the other hand, you may also inform the bail bond company of the defendant’s intention to skip bail and have him arrested and locked up before he flees the state.
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