Should You Co-Sign a Bail Bond? 3 Questions to Ask Yourself First

Man with face in his hands

It’s never a fun experience to get that call from someone you know and love telling you that they’ve been arrested. You want to help, but you may be wondering if you should co-sign a bail bond so that your loved one can be released.

There are plenty of benefits to helping someone get out of jail. You may be helping them keep their job or enabling them to participate more fully in their own defense. But cosigning a bail bond is also a big responsibility, and you should consider carefully before agreeing to do it. Take a look at some of the most important things that you should consider before agreeing.

Are You Qualified To Be a Co-Signer?

Not everyone can co-sign a bond. Usually, you need to meet certain minimum requirements.

What’s more, a reputable bail bondsman will probably require that you’re employed or have a regular income, that you have a decent credit history and that you generally are a responsible person, if none of above give us a call to determine if you qualify.

Usually, when you use a bail bondsman, you only have to come up with a percentage of the actual cost of bail and then the bondsman provides the rest.

However, the bail bondsman won’t want to lose the part they pay if the person who was arrested skips town, signature bond/collateral bond from you guarantees that the bondsman will get their money back, even if you don’t.

Before you agree to co-sign, it’s worth considering whether you’re qualified. Always call to determine if you qualify and/or what type of bond is appropriate for your situation. If you’re not, it’s better to let the person in jail know right away, so that they can work on finding someone else to do it.

Do You Want the Responsibility?

Cosigning on a bail bond is a big responsibility. You’re agreeing to ensure that the person you’re bailing out complies with court requirements and shows up at their court dates. Be honest with yourself about whether that’s something you can realistically do.

You could end up bearing this responsibility for a long time. While misdemeanor charges often resolve quickly, sometimes in as little as a month, a felony case could go on for a year or more after arrest before a trial and sentencing.

Unless the charges are dropped or bail is revoked, you’re usually responsible for the defendant, and financially responsible for the bail, until the case is resolved and sentencing is decided.

When you use a bail agent in Nevada, you’ll pay whatever’s greater $50 or 15 percent of the bond. According to Nevada law, that’s the minimum amount that bail bondsman services have to charge. Giving up $50 for a few months might not be a big deal, but giving up 15 percent of $100,000 could be a financial hardship for you.

In addition, don’t forget about the co-signer. If the defendant decides to skip town before sentencing, even if that’s a year after the arrest, you could still end up losing whatever asset you chose to put up as signature bond.

Do You Know How to Choose a Bail Bondsman?

If you’ve decided that you’re qualified to co-sign a bail bond and you’re willing to take on the responsibility, you still have to locate a bail bondsman. As with choosing any service provider, it’s important to be aware of the qualities a good bail bondsman will have.

Bail agents must be licensed by the state in order to operate legally. You should ask to see the bail bondsman’s license to ensure that they’re operating legally.

It’s unethical for a bail bondsman to cold call you, and there have been cases of scam artists posing as bail bondsmen who make cold calls in an effort to trick you into giving them your money or banking or credit card information.

You should be wary of a bail bondsman who calls you first, either they’re operating unethically or they aren’t really a bail bondsman at all. You’ll need to call the bail bondsman yourself.

You should also be wary of a bail bondsman who offers you a cheaper rate than is allowed by law. Since Nevada requires bail bondsmen to charge the greater of $50 or 15 percent of the bond, an offer that diverges from that is suspect.

A cheaper rate could mean that the bondsman is operating illegally, or it could mean that they’re taking the lower amount and then financing the rest, meaning you’ll still be required to pay the 15 percent, but with interest. A bail bondsman may offer a payment plan or financing in some cases, but they should be upfront about it. Make sure to read the agreement you sign carefully.

A trustworthy bail bondsman, like All Star Bail Bonds, will make sure that you understand the fees and payment plans with no interest that you’re agreeing too, as well as your other responsibilities. Contact their expert team today. Remember, co-signing a loved one’s bail bond can be a big decision, so don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions.