Co-signing a bail bond is not something that should be taken lightly. Did you know that co-signers are left accountable should the defendant not keep up with their end of the bargain? Before committing yourself to being a co-signer for a family member or a friend, it’s important to know what the ramifications are and what legal obligations are set in place for bail bonds in Tarrant County, Texas.
Understanding Being a Bail Bonds Co-Signer
A bail bond co-signer is someone who wilfully decides to sign a indemnity agreement holding themselves financially responsible to pay the designated bail should the defendant not show up in court. The defendant will be released for the duration of the trial upon the signing of this agreement, which will continue until the charges are resolved.
Often the bail amount is too large for a co-signer to pay in cash. In this situation, the co-signer will be asked to put up an asset or assets as collateral. This can be a house, car, or any other item of value.
Co-signers should really be careful with what assets they choose to put forward as collateral. Should the accused decide not to show up in court, the bond must be paid in full or the “collateral asset” could be taken away. To be fair to the co-signers, they are given the option to contact the courts or a bail bonds agent if they feel the accused will not show up to court. If that communication is made prior to the court date, then bail can be pulled and the defendant taken into custody. The co-signer will remain liable for the bond they co-signed for until the defendant has been re-arrested on that case or cases.
Responsibilities of a Bail Bonds Co-Signer
Before signing on as a co-signer, you need to be as informed as possible. Here is a list of factors to take into consideration before you sign the agreement:
- Ask for specific stipulations within the agreement, such as obligating the defendant to attend counselling or even a rehab clinic.
- The duty to make sure the defendant appears at their scheduled court date(s) is up to you as a co-signer.
- If at any point as a co-signer you feel your bail will be threatened because of the actions of the defendant through some type of illegal activity, then you are entitled to speak with the bail bonds agent and withdraw bail. However, you will remain liable for the case you co-signed for until the defendant has been re-arrested on the case.
Many factors need to be taken into consideration before co-signing a bail bond. Your judgement might be clouded because you are trying to help out a close friend or family member, but ultimately, the decision is yours to make. You need to be very sure you can live with the potential repercussions.
Things to Consider Before Co-Signing a Bail Bond
When debating whether to co-sign a bail bond for someone, the first thing you should think about is the person you’ll be signing for. The last thing you want to do is waste your hard-earned money on someone who will likely be a repeat offender or will put you in debt because of their irresponsible behavior. You’ll be taking on a lot of personal and financial responsibility, so you need to be sure that the person is reliable and someone you really care about.
Chances are if someone you don’t know too well calls you up out of the blue asking you to help them out by co-signing their bail bond, you should think twice—it`s probably not a good idea to risk your finances and trust on someone that you think may take advantage of you. Remember to use your discretion and personal judgement of the person`s character when signing a bond for bail.
When you co-sign a bail bond document, you are signing a legally binding agreement, so you must understand everything you read. This document will hold you responsible for the defendant in more than one way, so you need to make sure that you thoroughly understand the terms and agreements before signing it.
Bail bond co-signer applications typically ask for personal information including your employer information and banking details. If you don`t agree or have a problem with any of the terms, then you should refuse to co-sign the agreement. To be able to successfully co-sign a bail bond agreement, requirements of the co-signer include: being a citizen of the United States, having a stable job and sufficient credit, as well as having lived in the area for a predetermined amount of time.
When you co-sign a bail bond for someone, you assume personal responsibility for them. This means that you must be able to make sure that the defendant shows up for their court date. Bailing someone out of jail only allows them their freedom while awaiting trial—they are still obligated to go to court. If they do not show up for their court date and can’t be accounted for within 180 days, then you, the co-signer, will be left responsible. However, co-signers can revoke a bail bond if they change their mind about taking on this responsibility with the approval of the court.
In addition to the personal responsibilities that co-signers assume for the person they’ve bailed out of jail, they will also assume financial responsibility for them. If the defendant fails to show up for the specified court date or complete the payments for the bond, then the co-signer will be held accountable. If they re unable to repay the remaining bail bonds payments, then the co-signer risks losing whatever they put up for collateral. Co-signers can remove themselves from a bail bond with valid reason, such as other criminal charges, financial insecurity, or the person being a flight risk. This removal of co-signers must be approved by the judge presiding over the defendant’s charge. However, once a bail bond is revoked, the individual must return to jail.
PCS Bail Bonds has been providing bail bonds services in Arlington, Texas and Tarrant County for over 25 years. We understand the commitment and accountability that comes with co-signing a bail bond and we encourage our clients to do what is best for themselves and their loved ones. Contact PCS Bail Bonds if you are in need of a bail bond service in Arlington or Tarrant County, and we’ll help you to review your options.