When a friend or loved one calls you out of the blue with the news that they have been put behind bars and they need help getting out, it’s likely that your first instinct will be to do anything you possibly can to help out. On the other hand, you may not understand what you are agreeing to if what your loved one wants you to do is cosign for a bail bond. Cosigning can come with certain responsibilities that if they are not met, could land you hot water. Below you can learn a little bit about what cosigning could mean for you and why you may want to reconsider if someone asks you to do it for them.
The Payment Falls On You if the Defendant Stops Paying
Let’s talk in hypotheticals really quickly. For instance, let’s say you agreed to cosign on a bail bond for a family member or close friend. Things may be going perfectly at first and then you discover that your loved one had stopped making payments on the bail bond payment. Do you have any idea what happens in that case? That’s right. The entire payment falls back on you, the cosigner. It does not matter at all that you are not the person who committed the initial crime or the person who was arrested. As bondsmen, it is our job to collect the money that we provided upfront and if we can’t get it from the accused, the cosigner is the next obvious person to obtain the money from. And that is precisely what we will do.
The Financial Penalty is Yours if the Defendant Skips Town
Another scenario that we have seen play out plenty of times occurs when instead of just choosing to not pay back the bondsman, the defendant will simply leave town, blowing off their case causing the bond to go into forfeiture. This means that the court will impose a financial penalty equivalent to the amount of the defendant’s first bail. This payment will then fall on the person who hasn’t left town, you, the cosigner.
To Cosign or Not to Cosign
In the end, if a close friend or family member comes to you and asks if you can assist them in posting a bond, it comes down to trust. Do you trust that the person is going to pay you back? Do you trust that they will not leave town? If the answer is yes, then you are likely in a good position to help them out. On the other hand, if you experience doubt when they ask, you are probably smart to follow your gut. Plain and simple, don’t sign anything unless you know what you are getting yourself into.
Need Help From Affordable Bail Bonding?
If you find yourself behind bars or you know someone who is and there is no way for them to pay for their bond amount without assistance, we would suggest that you contact the expert bondsmen at Affordable Bail Bonding in Salem. We can assist you quickly so that no one is stuck in a cell longer than they need to be.