Co-signing a bail bond might sound similar to co-signing on any other kind of contract, but it’s not. While the concept is fairly similar, there are aspects completely unique to the bail bond process. That’s why we at Break ‘Em Out Bail Bonds are writing today’s blog — we want our clients and prospective customers to have a complete understanding of the in’s and out’s of bail bond cosigning. That way, we have empowered, happy customers who are better equipped to make financial decisions.
If you could use a bit of advice before cosigning on your friend or family member’s bail bond agreement, read on! This post is for you. We’ll start with some basic definitions before moving onto more practical elements of the conversation. Remember, Break ‘Em Out Bail Bonds is available 24/7, 365, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us if anything is unclear or you are in need of an experienced and affordable Waco bail bondsman!
Co-Signing On A Bail Bond
Like we mentioned, co-signing on a bail bond isn’t too complicated of a concept — generally speaking. It means that the co-signer signs a promissory note (or an indemnity agreement) which legally and financially obligates them to pay the full amount of the bond in the event that the accused party fails to appear in court.
In other words, you are on the hook if your friend or family member skips out on their court date. Once the co-signer has signed the agreement, the accused can then be released from jail until their court date in most situations.
That’s the gist of it, but there’s plenty more to co-signing a bail bond than that. Depending on a few different factors, co-signing a bail bond often means you should be prepared to pledge property as collateral. This might be a car, cash, a home, or other possessions. Whether you are working with us at our Waco bail bond agency or with another Texas bondsman, the agency you are working with will need to have assurances that their investment will be returned to them in one way or another. Because, statistically speaking, there are plenty of people who fail to show up for their court date, bail bond agencies often require co-signers in order to make sure their business stays profitable.
You might not care about the specific reasons that you, as the co-signer, need to provide collateral, but we thought that we’d explain the reasoning behind the situation nevertheless. It’s simply the nature of the business.
Know Your Rights
We are a bail bond agency that wants our clients to be educated, which is not something we can always say about our competitors.
That said, co-signers have rights. For instance, if a co-signer who has already signed an agreement believes that the indicted party is going to fail to appear at their court date, they have the ability to get in touch with their bail bondsman to tell them so. After this is done, the bond will be withdrawn and the bail bond agency will contact the authorities to pick up the accused and return them to jail.
What You Should Know Before Co-Signing A Bail Bond
No matter how dire the situation is, it’s vital to make sure you understand the terms of agreement before signing anything. Here are a few things you should keep in mind before signing a bail bond.
- Co-signing a bail bond means the accused will be released from jail as a free citizen.
- Co-signers have the legal obligation and authority to ensure the accused party shows up to all court dates along with any and all other bond agreements.
- The co-signer reserves the right to cancel the bail bond in the event that they become uneasy with the accused’s behavior. For instance, if they believe they won’t show up for their court date or are likely to commit crimes, canceling the bond means the accused will be collected and returned to jail by the authorities.
- Co-signers are within their rights to request certain stipulations before writing their name on the dotted line, so to speak. For instance, they are able to demand that the accused receive a mental health evaluation, receive counseling, or be drug tested regularly. Not all stipulations are guaranteed to be met, but our bail bond agency will do our best to comply with all reasonable requests insofar as we are able.
- If the accused happens to flee, the co-signer can call the bail bondsman and let us know where the accused is. We’ll handle it from there!
A Few Tips To Safeguard Yourself
The first tip we’d offer is that if you are in the Bell County or Killeen County area, go with the best bail bond company around at Break ‘Em Out. We’ve got the experience, rates, and integrity you are looking for. Plus, we go to bat for our clients to make sure they get the freedom they are due!
Of course, we’ve got more to say on the matter than just that. Here are a few more tips to help you on your way, regardless of whether you choose to go with our Waco bail bond agency!
- Always stay in touch with your friend or family member (the accused). You need to know where they are, first and foremost, but you probably also want to check on their wellbeing. If you are a kind person, this might be something you’d do anyway. But in this case, you have an extra reason to — your financial well-being is linked with their attendance!
- Carefully read every line before you sign. Yes, you should do this even if you are going with the most trusted bondsman around (that’s us!). Make sure you ask questions if something is unclear. And if you feel uneasy about asking questions, simply walk out the door and find an agency you do feel comfortable working with!
- If weeks turn into months, it’s a good idea to occasionally update your records by calling up your bail bondsman and verifying all information regarding the defendant, their court date, and any other details deemed pertinent by you and the agency.
- Check up on the defendant’s professional status by calling their place of work (assuming they have one) to make sure they remain employed. If they have recently been let go, it’s probably worth doing a deeper dive to make sure your friend or family member isn’t planning on doing anything hasty.
- This one might be the most important piece of advice we have to offer; make sure you know and trust the defendant before signing anything. If you think they made a poor decision and are down on their luck, you can help them get their feet on the ground! But if they have burned numerous bridges and you suspect they are manipulating you, it’s worth giving some thought to the idea that co-signing would be a form of enabling them. We aren’t here to make that call for you, our two cents is that it’s worth thinking about!
If you have any questions about our bail bond services, public notary services, or aren’t even sure where to start with a bail bond issue, we can help at Break ‘Em Out Bail Bonds! Reach out to us any time!