There are several ways friends or family members can assist someone who has been arrested and booked into jail, and one of the most significant options here is co-signing a bail bond. Actually mandatory in certain cases, a bail co-signer is often a vital individual in the process, especially when the person arrested does not have a great financial situation.
At Beehive Bail Bonds, we’re proud to offer 24/7 bail bond services for those in this position, plus expertise and answers to any questions you may have about co-signers or any other area of this process. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over everything you might need to know about co-signers, whether you’re the individual arrested or someone who has been asked to co-sign the bail bond for a friend or family member.
The primary purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant in a given case will return to court as required once released from jail. If this does not take place, the bail is taken by the court – but if the defendant appears, there is no issue and the money is returned to whoever posted it, regardless of the outcome of the case.
Generally, a co-signer is required for those obtaining a bail bond. This process is completed through the signing of a promissory note or an indemnity agreement, documents that financially obligate the co-signer to be responsible for the entire bail amount of the defendant in question does not return for scheduled appearances.
During the process, a co-signer must provide valuable physical property – whether cash or some other kind of valued item combination – as collateral for the release. This covers the bail bondsman, who provides the full bail amount to secure release. As we noted, if the defendant fails to appear within a reasonable period of time or flees on purpose, the co-signer will be on the hook.
Now, co-signers have some control in this process as well. Namely, they have the right to require stipulations before signing – these may include a treatment program or health evaluation for the defendant, or could involve situations where the bond is cancelled if the defendant exhibits certain questionable behaviors upon release. In addition, the co-signer has the right to report the location of the accused to the bail bond company if the accused will not appear.
Co-signers must be legal citizens of the US, and generally must have lived in the same area for a period of time. They also must have a reliable source of income and a good income history, plus a good credit history that will give the bondsman peace of mind. You also must have the capability to accept this responsibility and the potential risks associated with it, which we’ll get into a bit more in part two of this series.