You get the unexpected phone call that somebody you love has been arrested. Unsure of what is going on, your immediate reaction is to post bail to free them from the confines of jail so that they can prepare for their case and find the best attorney to help prove their innocence. A lot will be going through your head at the time, but before you do anything, you must stop and become fully aware of what posting bail for your friend or relative means to you, the cosigner.
The following are four important factors to consider before bailing somebody out of jail.
1. The bond money is non-refundable.
Once the bond money has been paid to the bondsman, the percentage taken up front goes toward service and court fees necessary to get your loved one out of jail. The typical up front percentage can be between 8% and 10%. If a bondsman says they charge less than this, check with them to make sure that they are including all fees that you can expect to incur, since often times they will be hiding something as a marketing tactic.
2. You are responsible for the defendant appearing in court.
Once the bond has been posted and the defendant is released from jail, it will be the responsibility of you, the cosigner, to make sure that they return to court when they are scheduled. For this reason, many people request and recommend that the defendant lives in the home of the cosigner until they are finished with their court requirements.
3. If the defendant skips court, you pay the fees.
If they should skip, the cosigner is required to pay any additional fees. This includes the entire amount of the set bail, as well as court processing fees and any other administrative fees. These can add up quickly, so it is vital that you trust the person you will be bailing out of jail prior to making the decision.
4. The bondsman you work with should be experienced.
You should feel comfortable with the bondsman you are working with. A database of nationwide bond experts can be found from companies, such as ExpertBail. Your bondsman will be your go-to person to answer any questions and help ease the process, so they should be somebody you trust and feel comfortable with.
Bailing somebody out of jail is a stressful experience. Before bailing them out, keep these important details in mind so that you know what to expect prior to committing.