Bail bonds are like any other financial transaction when cosigning. What happens when you cosign on a bail bond is that you are now liable for the sum of money should the primary signer default. If the defendant does not appear in court, you, as a cosigner, are legally obligated to fulfill the requirements of the bail bond to the court. In some cases, this could mean selling your assets to come up with the money. In other cases, it could simply be that you have to turn your friend or loved one into custody of police or sheriff’s department. Either one of these options for a default on a bail bond is a difficult situation.
Co-Signing on a Bail Bond
During the initial signing of the bail bond, you had to pay a standard bonding fee (in Georgia it’s 10%-15%) or you had to pay a fee and give some sort of collateral. This could be in the form of assets, either tangible or otherwise, or it could have been in the form of a security deposit that would be returned to you after the criminal case had come to conclusion. At the end of the court case, you would not get the bondsman’s fee back, but you would get back assets you put up as initial collateral.
What happens if someone jumps bail and you re the cosigner on the bond?
The full amount of bail becomes due. This means that the bail bonds service you hired to get the inmate released becomes responsible for the entire bail amount. No, not a certain percentage. The entire amount of bail. This can range from just a few hundred dollars to several thousand. What happens when you co-sign a bail bond is this: you become liable for the bail amount instead of the bonding company. Granted, the bail bondsman must pay the court, but they will then come after you for their losses. This is why the requirements for even our Atlanta bail bonds in high-risk cases can seem steep.
Before cosigning on a bail bond, it is important to realize that you also have additional rights afforded to you as the cosigner. Since you are basically stating that you are going to make sure the defendant shows up for court for the judge on all prearranged court dates, then you had better be sure that they do. With this in mind, you can negotiate with your bail bonds company for certain stipulations to be met while the defendant is out on bond. For instance, you as a co-signer can stipulate that the defendant attend an alcohol or drug treatment program or get an evaluation from a mental health practitioner. If you get the feeling that the accused isn’t going to go to court, but they haven’t fled the state, then you can inform the bail bondsman of their whereabouts and ask that the bond be withdrawn. They will then go and pick the accused up and take them to jail. This will alleviate any unwanted financial stress on your part.
Co-signing on a bail bond isn’t just promising that a person will go to court, you are betting that they will. If you lose the bet, you have to pay. Even when charges are dropped, you still had to pay the bondsman the initial service fee. If you have extra money laying around, I’m sure you can think of better places to invest it than in a bail bond. Long story short, don’t co-sign on a bond for a person that you don’t know well or you believe will flee the state.