Getting arrested or having a family member end up in jail is no way to spend the holidays. But did you know that being in jail doesn’t mean that you have to stay in jail? If you can pay a portion of that bail you’ll be able to walk away free, at least until your arraignment or next court hearing.
However, when you’re in jail, it can be difficult to line up the funds for your release. You’ll likely need access to thousands of dollars (or more depending on the nature and severity of your crime). Even if you have the money, you still need a cosigner to guarantee the bail bond. Luckily, a relative or friend can act as a cosigner, but it also means that they’ll be on the hook if you fail to appear in court. While some people may wonder if you can transfer bail bonds to another person after cosigning, it’s important to know that cosigning can only be canceled, not transferred.
What is a Bail Bond Cosigner?
A bail bond cosigner is someone that has assumed responsibility for a defendant as they wait for their court appearances. If the defendant doesn’t show, the bail bond is forfeited to the court and a warrant is issued for their arrest.
It’s perfectly natural to worry that being a cosigner of a bond means you can go to jail, but the reality is that you are only there to help ensure that the defendant will appear for their next court date. When the defendant shows for their hearing, the bond is marked to be returned at the conclusion of the case, even if the defendant is ultimately found guilty.
On the other hand, if the defendant doesn’t show, the bond is forfeited and a warrant is issued for the defendant’s arrest. In this instance, you could be responsible for paying the full amount of the bail.
Who Can Cosign a Bail Bond?
As for who can cosign a bail bond, it can be anyone. A spouse, family member, friend, or simply anyone that knows the defendant and will be able to reasonably vouch for their whereabouts can cosign a bail bond. The strength of the relationship between the cosigner and defendant will matter to your bail bondsman since this is the person that will be responsible for supporting the defendant in the run-up to and during the trial.
A good cosigner is someone that has good credit, a stable job, and is a responsible person with ties to the local community. Cosigners are on the hook for bail and the defendant, and it’s basically like signing a contract that you will bring the defendant to court. If they don’t show, you’ll have to pay the bail amount, so it’s important to take this responsibility seriously. While you may not be on the hook for the entire bail amount, you will have to make arrangements to pay or put down about 10 percent with your bail bondsman before bail can be posted. It’s a heavy responsibility and if you’ve been asked to be a cosigner, carefully consider the likelihood of your ability to encourage the defendant to appear in court.
How To Cancel a Bail Bond
If you’ve made a mistake and you’d like to get your name off of someone’s bail bond, you have some rights as a cosigner. There is no requirement to be a cosigner in the first place, so before you become one you should weigh your options in detail. If you have reason to believe that the defendant won’t make it back for their court case, becoming a cosigner would be a bad legal decision (and could reflect badly on you in the future). Similarly, being a cosigner can strain relationships – where you’ve agreed to trust someone completely, and they take advantage of your kindness.
In this case, where you’ve already become a cosigner and you’re interested in transferring that bail bond to another person, you can revoke the agreement by speaking with your bail bondsman. Tell them that you’d like to terminate the contract and the defendant should be taken back to jail. Better yet, if you can find a replacement cosigner, you can terminate your agreement while helping to facilitate a new agreement and cosigner.
To learn more about how bail bonds work, get professional help from the bail bond experts at My Bail Hotline. Our many locations throughout California mean we’ve got you covered in the case of a bail bond need. Contact us today!