When a loved one gets arrested the first thing any of us thinks about is how to get them out. Most would not hesitate to do anything to get them released which typically means either bailing them out with our own savings, which for some could not be a possible option or signing on as a co-signer/indemnitor on a bail bond. In the heat of the moment, many do not think of the consequences of this but it is important to take a moment and really evaluate the pros and cons because it can cause some huge issues if things do not go well. Here is what you need to know.
Make sure you really know the defendant
We have seen it in tv shows and movies multiple times where the main character gets arrested and a friend bails them out. While this can definitely happen and truly anyone can bail someone out, more often than not, it tends to be immediate family. This is because bond costs are purposefully not cheap and co-signing for a bail bond makes you responsible. Just like co-signing a lease, it should take some thought and consideration when signing your name on that contract.
Make sure you completely trust the defendant and have the power to keep tabs on them
As said previously, when you sign a contract to be a co-signer for a bail bond, you are taking responsibility that the defendant will show up to their court dates. This is why trust is vital. If there is any reason or doubt, even a small inkling that they could not show then it may be wise not to sign. Many who co-signs are able to keep an eye on the defendant to make sure they don’t try to flee but if you are not close enough or don’t have the capacity to control this situation, it may not be wise to proceed.
Make sure you are using resources that you can afford as collateral
No matter how much you love and trust the person you are bailing out, you can never be guaranteed anything in life and it is best to be prepared for worst-case scenarios even if they never happen. If you are needing to use your entire savings or home as collateral then it could be catastrophic if those assets end up being seized because the bond had to be forfeited. It’s completely understandable that anyone who puts up with collateral will be dealing with the potential loss of assets should anything happen, but if it comes at the cost of possibly ruining your future, then signing may cause too much-added stress.