If someone you care about gets arrested, you will do your best to bail them out of custody. However, you might lack the finances and likely need to contact a bail bond company to pay the bail. In such cases, you’ll cosign a bail bond that obligates you to pay the bail amount should the defendant fail to appear in court. As a cosigner, you have rights and knowing them is essential.
Here are the things to know about bail bond cosigner rights.
- You’re responsible for the defendant
The primary cosigner bail bonds requirement is that you’ll be responsible for the defendant. You must see that the defendant attends all their court dates. If they fail to follow, they’ll be rearrested and charged, and you’ll be held responsible. You’re accountable for ensuring the defendant doesn’t leave the country or contact witnesses or victims of the case.
- Financially obligated
You have a financial obligation to pay a certain percentage of the bond payment, which is primarily nonrefundable. Though you don’t have to be employed to be a cosigner, you must provide proof of your income and residency.
You can use your home, care, or other valuable items as collateral to guarantee the remaining amount of the bond. If there’re violations, such as the failure of the defendant to turn up for court, the bail bond company can use the collateral properties as payment.
Additionally, you might incur additional costs. For instance, if the defendant fails to show up in court, the bond agent has the right to act as a recovery fee for tracking and returning the defendant to jail.
- Can require stipulations
As a cosigner, you have a right to impose stipulations on the bail bond. You can include a stipulation that the defendant has to attend a drug rehabilitation or have mental health evaluation. Additionally, you have the right to say no, regardless of your relationship with the defendant. You don’t have to cosign a bail bond if you’re not financially insecure. The stipulations make you not liable if the defendants violate the agreement’s terms.
- Valid through court proceedings
Many cosigners think they will only be responsible for the defendant through their initial hearing. On the contrary, a cosigner is responsible for the whole criminal proceedings of the defendant. You’ll need to stay up-to-date on the criminal process, including preliminary hearings, plea hearings, and sentencing.
- Can cancel bond
As a cosigner, you have the power to cancel the bond. If you cancel the bond, you won’t have financial or criminal responsibility for the defendant. However, revoking a bond will to the re-arrests of the defendant, and they will be held in court during the entire court proceeding.
If the defendant flees or refuses to attend court proceedings, you can contact the bail agents and let them know where the defendant is so they can be re-arrested.
Many people have a criminal record, and there is a high chance that someone you know will get arrested. You can cosign a bail bond and get them out of jail if that happens. However, cosigning is a considerable commitment, and you should know your cosigner’s legal rights and options.