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What Happens When You Sign a Bond for Someone? Responsibilities and Risks

Posted on Mar 15th, 2024 by Jesse Kleis 231 Views

A bail bond gives defendants a way out of jail the moment they’ve been arrested. The defendant contacts a bail bond agency - such as Mr. Nice Guy Bail Bonds - and a bail bondsman will post bail for them. Following this, the defendant must attend all court appearances or they risk being arrested again with new charges. Even worse, their failure to appear in court will mean the full bail amount is kept by the court. 

For this reason, bail bond agencies will ask for a co-signer with every bail bond transaction. If you’ve been asked to sign a bond for someone, you’re probably wondering what this entails and what you’re taking on. We implore you to hold off on your signature until you’ve read this article. 

Understanding Bail Bond Co-Signers

What happens when you sign a bond for someone? A co-signer exists as a guarantor for the defendant. They sign the bail bond contract stating that they will ensure the defendant attends all of their scheduled court appearances. 

What Responsibilities Do You Have When Signing A Bond For Someone?

Being a co-signer isn’t as simple as making sure the defendant goes to court. You take on a huge legal responsibility in that you become responsible for the bail bond itself. This isn’t an issue when the defendant appears in court and follows the terms of their release. The trial ends and the full bail amount is charged back to the bail bond company.

However, problems arise if the defendant doesn’t follow their obligations. As the co-signer, you are legally responsible for paying the full bail amount in this situation. The bail bond agency can request the money from you at any given time and there’s no way out of it as your signature is legally binding. 

Factors To Consider Before Signing A Bond

It’s unwise to sign a bond for someone else unless the following conditions are met: 

  • You have the financial capabilities to pay the bail bond if the worst happens
  • You have a good relationship with the defendant and trust them to comply
  • You’re aware of the risks involved (having to pay the full bail amount, putting up collateral, etc.)

If you believe you can handle the responsibilities of being a co-signer, then go ahead and sign your name. We believe this is only a good idea when you have a close relationship with the individual and they listen to you. It’s also worth noting that you can get your name removed from a bond in extreme circumstances. This can only be done before any bond terms are broken by a defendant. In other words, you can remove your name and free yourself from the obligations before the defendant misses court dates, but after this happens you can’t do this. 

In summary, when you sign a bond for someone else you inherit the legal responsibility for said bond. You will be required to pay the bond amount if the person breaks the terms of their release. If you’d like more help with bail bonds or want to learn more about the process of co-signing, don’t hesitate to contact our bail bond experts today. 

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About The Author

Jesse Kleis is a licensed California Bail Agent for Mr. Nice Guy Bail Bonds with over 10 years’ experience working in all aspects of the bail industry. He holds both a Bachelors and Masters of Arts in Sociology from California State University. Alongside his role in the bail industry he continues to hold a formal role in professional education as a Sociology Instructor.

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