If you recently had a loved one get arrested, you might be asked to post their bail. This is not a decision you should rush into. While it does mean they will get released from jail until their next court appearance, you gain some responsibilities and pay fees by co-signing the bond. Here are some things to know before you sign the bail bond.
The Bail Deposit Is Non-Refundable
The deposit you pay to the bail bondsman when getting the bail bond is their fee, so it is not refundable. This fee is typically a percentage of the total bond amount. You will need to pay this when getting the bond, no exceptions. They might take different forms of payment, but will not issue the bond without the fee. While you can be released from the contract if the case is dismissed by the court, the bondsman still keeps their fee, so don't expect to see it again.
You Guarantee the Defendant Will Appear in Court
By signing the bail bond, you are giving a type of guarantee that you will ensure the defendant will appear in court as requested. You should take responsibility for that person and keep in contact with them to make sure they go to court. If you fail to do so, and they don't appear in court, you could be looking at more fees. If they escape court altogether, you might be responsible for the entire cost of the bail, which could be thousands of dollars. You should only sign a bond for someone you know and trust to do the right thing.
Collateral Is Often Required
When you are applying for the bail bond, you probably don't have the full amount of the bail bond in your bank account. If this is the case, the bail bondsman needs to know you can pay the full amount if the person arrested does not appear in court. To do this, they will require collateral. This is often a vehicle or home you own, since they have a high value. If you don't have collateral, you may be denied the bail bond. If you do have collateral, be prepared to bring paperwork to the bail bondsman before the bond is issued.
Keep in mind that the bail bond is a contract between you and the bondsman, not the defendant and the bondsman. It is your responsibility to keep up with your end of the bargain, whether it means getting the defendant to court on time or paying the full bond amount. For more information, talk to a professional like Alda Pauline's Bail Bonds.