Discovering that your loved one has been arrested can be a scary moment. Getting that phone call to tell you someone you care for in jail is news most people dread. But, when it does happen, it’s made so much more distressing if you aren’t familiar with the process this situation follows.
Getting your loved one out of jail as fast as you can is probably your intention. This involves getting your loved one released from prison on bail. Securing bail for your loved one can be a straightforward process when you use a reliable bail bond company. But there’s something else you need to be aware of. You may need to play an active part in getting your loved one bailed. As well as approaching a bail bond company to arrange the bail, you’re likely to also need to act as an indemnitor.
So, right now, you’re probably wondering what an indemnitor is. Plus, what you’ll need to do if you become one. Well, we have the answers right here. Here’s what you need to know:
Understanding the Indemnitor Role
So, what does being an indemnitor actually mean? Here, we’ll deep dive into the subject to give you clarification on this role.
Acting as an indemnitor essentially puts you in the position of guarantor. You’re agreeing to guarantee that the defendant sticks to the terms of their bail conditions. This means that you take responsibility for ensuring they comply with these terms. Failure to do so can have consequences for yourself.
Responsibilities of an Indemnitor
When acting as an indemnitor, you have a few key responsibilities that you need to keep in mind. Understanding these responsibilities is crucial so that you know precisely what’s expected of you when you take on the role in indemnitor:
Ensure the defendant appears in court
One of the biggest responsibilities you face as an indemnitor is ensuring your loved one appears in court when required. Defendants are only released on bail on condition that they will attend court when required to do so. This makes it your responsibility to ensure they show up and don’t forfeit on the bail agreement.
Make sure defendants follow bail conditions
When allowing the release of a defendant on bail, the court may decide to impose bail conditions. These could be anything from restricting them from contacting specific people, traveling to certain areas, or prohibiting them from using certain substances. Your responsibility as indemnitor is to ensure that they stick with the conditions of their release.
Indemnitor’s Financial Liability
One of the biggest commitments that you’ll take on when acting as indemnitor is financial liability. So, if your loved one misses a scheduled court appearance, your financial liabilities as indemnitor may come into force. This means you could be required to pay back the financial amount of the bail. Being in this situation can have severe consequences for your own financial position. You may have put up your property, a vehicle title, or another possession of significant value to secure the defendant’s release. This will now be at risk.
In addition, if your loved one skips bail and cannot be tracked down, your financial liability becomes more serious. The bail bond company may hire an investigator or bounty hunter to locate your loved one. You will be required to cover the cost of these services. If they cannot locate the defendant, you may be required to pay back the whole bail amount. This is usually an extremely large amount of cash, and as mentioned above, if you’ve used your property or vehicle as a guarantee, you may lose these.
Qualifications of an Indemnitor
While you may have agreed to take on the role as indemnitor for your loved one, you also need to be qualified to do so. Before your loved one can be released on bail with you acting as their indemnitor, a few checks need to first be made.
The bail bond company will likely require you to have some checks before you can be given the role of indemnitor. You may need to answer a series of questions to verify that you are suitable to act in the capacity of indemnitor for your loved one. These questions may require you to provide information on your financial position and any assets you may own. You may also be asked to specify the relationship that you have with the defendant. Finally, you’ll also likely need a credit check. The credit check and financial questions are crucial. After all, you’re going to be assuming financial liability for the defendant and their requirement to meet their bail terms.
Indemnitor’s Role in the Bail Process
Getting that dreaded phone call from your loved one telling you they’re in jail, you’ll probably be willing to do anything to get them out. If you plan to act as an indemnitor, you will play a role in the bail process right from the start.
Your first step is to clarify that your loved one will be granted bail. Bail is granted in most cases. However, the amount of bail money required and the terms of the bail may be different depending. This is going to depend on factors such as their location and the crime they’ve committed. Once you know that your loved one is definitely going to be released on bail, you can start making arrangements for their release.
Most people turn to a bail bond company when getting their loved ones out of jail. Having a bail bond company working with you makes things a whole lot easier. The bail bond company can take care of a lot of the release process on your behalf. The bail bond company will post bail to the jail and arrange the release of your loved one. But before they do this, they’re likely going to need someone to act as an indemnitor. This requires you to co-sign the bail agreement.
Once you’ve signed to confirm your role as indemnitor, you’re going to need to monitor your loved one closely. This requires you to ensure they make an appearance on all their court dates. You’ll also need to be sure that they stick with the conditions of their bail agreement. It’s vital you take this role seriously. Potentially, being an indemnitor could have huge financial consequences for you, so always be sure you are comfortable with the role before you agree to take it.
Indemnitor’s Rights and Responsibilities
When taking on the role of indemnitor, it’s essential that you truly understand your rights and responsibilities. Be sure to read through the contract given to you by the bail company and check through that you properly understand what’s expected from you. It’s also crucial to do the same thing and check through the bail conditions that the court has provided.
You’re responsible for ensuring that the defendant shows up in court. You also need to be sure that they follow the terms of their bail conditions. This huge responsibility means that understanding the agreement fully is the best way to ensure these conditions are met. As well as making sure you have a clear knowledge of your responsibilities, you can also take this opportunity to check through your rights. Understanding your rights as an indemnitor will ensure you can best protect yourself in this role.
Choosing the Right Indemnitor
As a defendant, choosing the right indemnitor is essential to ensure that your release from jail is quick. Choosing the right indemnitor will also help ensure that you get to the court on the right date at the right time.
As your indemnitor is likely to be a friend or family member, keep in mind that this can complicate things. If you fall out with your indemnitor before you have appeared in court, this can lead to complications. Keep in mind that a lot of extra pressure will be placed on your loved one when they act as an indemnitor for you. So, you need to be sure that this is something that you’re both willing to commit to seeing through.
Protecting Yourself as an Indemnitor
While everyone wants to do all they can to help protect and support their loved ones, this does carry risk. In the case of acting as indemnitor, you put yourself under exceptional pressure when in this role.
When acting in this role, you potentially put your money and property at risk. You also commit to investing your time and effort in keeping the defendant compliant with their bail conditions. All of this can be a heavy burden. Therefore, it’s essential to enter this process with your eyes wide open. The worst case scenario of losing your property, vehicle, or large amounts of cash are always possible. Being aware of this and taking time to consider how much you trust the defendant to stick with their bail conditions is vital. Only you can decide whether acting as an indemnitor is the best choice for you, but you’ll need to consider it extremely carefully before you sign.