If you have a close friend or loved one in jail, you probably wouldn’t think twice about helping them out. One way you can do this is by acting as an indemnitor or cosigner for their bail bond.
Depending on state and county regulations, not all bail bonds require a cosigner. In Wake County, for instance, the need for a cosigner only arises if the defendant is unable to provide any collateral or can’t be released on his or her own recognizance, as decided on by the judge. If you agree to be a cosigner, here are some of the responsibilities you must fulfill.
Ensure the Defendant’s Appearance in Court
The primary role of an indemnitor is to guarantee the court that the defendant will appear at every trial session. This means that you should know the court dates and keep tabs on the whereabouts of the defendant.
If the defendant skips court and runs away, bail bond agents may hire a bounty hunter to find the fugitive. The bounty hunter will have at least six months to return the fugitive to the government. While this happens, you can conduct your own search as well.
Pay the Premium and Additional Cost
If the defendant skips town, the financial obligations of being an indemnitor will only fall on your shoulders when the bounty hunter is unable to get the fugitive back into custody within the given timeframe. Bail bond agents can request an extension, however, if they can prove that there has been progress in tracking the fugitive.
Being a cosigner means that you agree to take full responsibility of the defendant’s actions, including paying off the bail bond premium and additional fees in the event that the defendant runs. Given that bail bond companies are putting up thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in spite of the inherent risk, think about cosigning as a way to protect their interests and make sure the defendant does not escape justice.
By agreeing to cosign, you should understand the risk you’re taking. So, be sure to think about this decision very carefully. If the situation gets worse, though, know that most bail bonding companies are willing to help. Furthermore, to avoid paying apprehension fees, it’s best to be transparent and cooperative.