Many defendants released on bail are required to have a co-signer – otherwise, they may have to stay in jail throughout their trial. When someone co-signs a bail bond, they accept the financial responsibilities of repaying the bail bond agency’s fee if the defendant flees or forfeits his or her bond. Being a co-signer is an incredible responsibility, and anyone who chooses to become one should fully understand the requirements.
Who Can Be a Co-signer?
A co-signer can be a family member, a friend, an employer, or another person that the defendant trusts to fulfill the financial obligations of the bond. While a defendant may choose anyone he trusts to be a co-signer, it is up to the bail bond agency to decide whether that someone can co-sign a bond. Bail bond agents prefer individuals who are responsible, understand the requirements of a co-signer, and have a good credit history, which shows that they are financially responsible enough to pay the agency’s fees. Bail bond agents may also look at a co-signers job history and annual income. If a co-signer is unemployed or has a bad credit history, he or she will likely be denied.
It is possible for a defendant to have multiple co-signers, but they will share responsibilities.
Responsibilities for a Co-signer
When someone agrees to be a co-signer, she shares responsibility with the defendant for fulfilling the obligations of bail and paying the bail bond agency’s fee. Defendants may need a co-signer if they do not have a good credit history, are unemployed, have a criminal record, or are seen as a flight risk. Co-signers can also vouch for a defendant and prove that the defendant has a support system in his community to ensure that he will not commit another crime.
Co-signers are responsible for:
- Making sure the defendant attends every court appointment and hearing
- Paying the bond’s premium
- Paying recovery fees
What Happens If a Defendant Misses a Court Appearance?
A bail bond is an agreement between the California justice system and a defendant requiring the defendant to attend all court appearances and hearings until the trial and sentencing are complete. If a defendant shows up on time and never misses an appointment, then her bond will be returned to her, whether she is found guilty or not.
However, if a defendant misses a court appearance, it can put the bail bond in jeopardy. The court can consider the bond forfeit and refuse to return the money. It can also issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest, file contempt of court charges, and send the defendant back to jail. While a skilled and experienced bail bond agent can work with the court to have the bail bond reinstated, this is not guaranteed.
If the bail is forfeited, the co-signer is responsible for paying the bail bond’s premium or a recovery fee for retrieving the defendant. Because of this, it is in the co-signer’s best interest to make sure the defendant attends every court appearance on time.
Can I Refuse To Be a Co-signer?
No one can be forced to co-sign a bail bond. If you do not want the responsibilities and liability that come with being a co-signer, you may refuse. This may mean that your friend or loved one has to remain in jail, but you should not put your livelihood in peril if you do not want to. You should not sign any agreement without discussing your situation and responsibilities with a bail bond agent.
Co-signers do have the right to request certain rules as part of their agreement. Co-signers may request for the defendant to enter counseling, group therapy, substance abuse classes, or anger management before agreeing to be a co-signer, which may be in the defendant’s best interest anyway in a DUI or domestic violence case.
In addition, if you come to believe that the defendant will try to flee or miss a court appearance, then you should talk to a bail bond agent and the court as soon as possible. They may allow you to terminate the agreement, at which point the defendant will be returned to jail. It is important to do this before a defendant flees; otherwise, the bond may become forfeit.
Speak to a Bail Bond Agent Today
The team at Balboa Bail Bonds understands the great responsibilities that come with being a co-signer. We will never pressure anyone into signing an agreement they do not want to. Each of our agents has more than five years of experience and can answer your questions and concerns. If you do choose to be a co-signer, we can offer several affordable payment and financing plans to ensure that you do not have to worry about struggling to pay our rate. We also offer discounts for members of the military and their families.
If your loved one needs help paying bail and getting out of jail, contact Balboa Bail Bonds online or call our offices at (619) 760-2222 to discuss your case.