When a friend or loved one is arrested, our first inclination is to help in whatever way we can. Your first step should be learning all you can about what bail bonds are and how they work. We have a FAQ page that can give you a basic overview. However, before you decide to become a cosigner on a bail bond, you should fully understand the responsibilities that come with doing so.
What Is A Cosigner?
Before you sign, understand what a co-signer is and what makes a good cosigner. If a defendant cannot afford bail, he or she can call on a friend or family member to pay the bail amount. If that person cannot afford to pay the bail outright, they may require the services of a bail bond company.
The cosigner will provide the bail bondsman with a percentage of the bail amount, usually 15%. If the cosigner is unable to pay the bond fees, they may choose to use personal property as collateral.
Responsibilities of the Cosigner
- You must make sure that the defendant meets all of the bond requirements. This is why it is critical that a cosigner is someone who is close to the defendant. From attending a drug treatment program to mental health evaluations to court dates, once the defendant is released from jail, you will be responsible for meeting the conditions of release put forth by the court.
- You are financially responsible. Signing a bail bond is agreeing to a financial contract. If the defendant fails to show up in court or meet the other bond requirements, the financial responsibility falls to you. That means that any property used as collateral could be taken in payment.
- There may be additional costs involved. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bond agent may have the right to charge a recovery fee for tracking down the defendant and returning him or her to jail.
Rights of the Cosigner
If you take on this responsibility, you should remember that you have rights, as well.
- You have the right to say no. Regardless of relation or connection to the defendant, you are never obligated to cosign a bail bond. If you do not feel comfortable taking on the responsibilities above, or if you do not feel financially secure enough to help, you do not have to agree to sign.
- You can set conditions for bail such as drug treatment, a mental health evaluation, etc. You have the right to ask the court to require certain conditions as a condition of bail. These stipulations are available so that you can feel more comfortable with your role.
- You can ask the bail bond company to cancel the bond. If you become uncomfortable with the defendant’s actions the defendant can be picked up and returned to jail by the bail bond agency or by the police. You can make this request because you believe the defendant is involved in illegal activity; is putting you, others, or themself In danger; or is a possible flight risk.
Talk to a Bail Bonds Agent Before You Sign
Bail bonds agents are here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are even on call on holidays. From understanding the difference between bail and bonds to helping you understand your rights as a cosigner, the agents at 24/7 Bail Bonds are happy to walk with you through the entire process.
Our courteous agents serve 10 counties in southeast Georgia, and we are just a phone call away. When your loved one needs immediate release from jail, call us first.