What Does it Mean to Be a Co-Signer for a Bail Bond?

What Does it Mean to Be a Co-Signer for a Bail Bond?

You learn that your loved one has been arrested and held in police custody while awaiting trial. Of course, you don't want to see them behind bars for an extended period; you want to help them during this difficult time. Therefore, you decide to co-sign for a bail bond, allowing your loved one to be released from jail.

After you sign the paperwork, one of the bail bonds company's agents will post bail with the court, and your loved one will be free from police custody. However, your role as a co-signer does not stop there. You will have various responsibilities to ensure that your loved one does what they need to do while their case is pending. It is important to understand your obligations as a co-signer to know what to expect throughout the process.

Andy Callif Bail Bonds in Columbus, OH, is here to answer your questions and discuss what's entailed when signing for a bail bond. Speak with one of our experienced agents by contacting us at (614) 945-4334. To learn more about some of your responsibilities as a co-signer, read on.

Terms and Conditions of the Bail Bond Agreement

One of the documents you'll sign when you get a bail bond for a loved one is the bail bond agreement (also referred to as an indemnity agreement). This is the agreement made between you and the bail bond agency, and it sets out the terms and conditions you and your loved one must abide by.

A few of your legal responsibilities upon signing the agreement include, but are not limited to:

  • Paying a non-refundable premium for the agency's services. In Ohio, the fee cannot be more than 10% of the entire bail amount.
  • Paying for any expenses the agency incurs to post the bail bond on behalf of your loved one.
  • Reimbursing the agency for any costs it incurs should your loved one fail to comply with the conditions of bail.
  • Paying the full bail amount if your loved one does not appear in court as required.
  • Putting up collateral if required to secure the bail bond.
  • Making accurate and true statements concerning your
    • Address,
    • Telephone number,
    • Place of employment, and
    • Other pertinent information.
  • Notifying the agency within 48 hours of any substantial and material changes to your or your loved one's information or circumstances.
  • Agreeing that the agent can make a claim or enforce any legal order against you.
  • Authorizing appropriate organizations to release information concerning your character, financial standing, and credit information, including your credit report, bank account information, and background check. These details are used to ensure that your loved one shows up to court or that the agency can collect any outstanding balance owed.

By signing the agreement, you are saying that you understand that you will pay a portion of the total bail amount to get your loved one released from jail. If your loved one does not show up to court and bail is forfeit, you also agree to pay the remaining balance and costs associated with locating and returning them to custody, such as reasonable travel expenses. You also understand that if your loved one fails to appear, you may be contacted about their whereabouts.

Who Can Be a Co-Signer?

Understanding what's entailed in being a bail bond co-signer, you may wonder whether you qualify for this responsibility.

Generally, to be a co-signer, you would have to:

  • Be a responsible adult. As noted before, you must meet certain obligations as a co-signer and are accountable for ensuring that your loved one appears in court as required.
  • Have a stable residence. If your loved one fails to appear, the bail bond company needs to know where they can find you to ask about your loved one's whereabouts.
  • Have a stable income. You and the agency might agree on a payment plan for the bail bonds, which means you need to be able to make regular payments.
  • Have a sufficient credit score. The agency needs to verify that you have a good history of making payments for loans or other lines of credit you have taken out in the past.

Each bail bonds company may have its own criteria for determining whether a person is eligible to be a co-signer. Talk to the agency about its requirements to ensure that you can be a hero for your loved one.

What Should I Consider Before Co-Signing for a Bail Bond?

By co-signing for a bail bond, you are helping a loved one through a challenging period of their life. At the same time, you are taking on tremendous personal responsibility.

As such, some of the things to consider when co-signing for a bail bond include, but are not limited to:

  • How well you know the individual
  • How responsible the individual is
  • How well you understand your responsibilities
  • How well you understand your rights as a co-signer
  • How putting up a 10% premium will affect you

Speak with an Experienced Bail Bond Agent

When helping out a loved one by securing a bail bond on their behalf, it's beneficial to discuss the matter with an agent who knows the process and everything required of you and your loved one. During your initial conversation with the agent, ask questions and get any confusing points clarified.

At Andy Callif Bail Bonds, we want to see friends and family members reunited with their loved ones and be there during what can be an overwhelming experience. We can guide you through the process of co-signing for a bail bond. We will ensure that you understand your rights and responsibilities. With 24/7 availability, we'll also be here when you need us to address any concerns.

To learn more about how we can help, call us at (614) 945-4334 or fill out an online contact form today.

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