A Friend In Need? What To Know Before Agreeing To Help A Friend With A Bail Bond

Good friends are part of living your best life, so it is normal to want to be supportive and helpful when a friend calls to ask for help with a problem. But when the problem involves financial risks, such as when a friend asks you to help them obtain a bail bond, it is important to gather as much information as possible so that you can make an informed decision. If you are facing this situation, here are some key points you should consider before you agree to your friend's request. 

What does it really mean to co-sign a friend's bail bond? 

If you have never dealt with bail bonds before, you may not realize that a bail bond is a type of loan. When you agree to co-sign one for a friend or family member, you are agreeing to be financially responsible for the full amount of their bond, should they fail to meet the requirements and conditions included in the bond agreement. 

In essence, agreeing to co-sign a bail bond for a friend is similar to co-signing a bank loan because it includes financial liability. Because of this, you will need to carefully consider whether you can trust your friend to act responsibly and meet all their requirements before you agree to co-sign. 

Are there any options to customize a bail bond agreement? 

If you know that your friend struggles with something that could create an issue with their ability to meet the requirements of a bond, you may want to look into customizing the terms of the bond. For instance, if your friend struggles with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, you may want to ask for the bond agreement to specify that they must attend treatment as a condition of the bond. Customizing a bond in this manner as part of your agreement to co-sign it can provide the incentive for your friend to make positive improvements to their life. 

Can someone who co-signs a bail bond agreement change their mind after doing so? 

If you co-sign a bail bond for a friend and then later find that they are making poor choices that could create a situation in which their bond is revoked, you should know that a co-signer does have an option to have the bail bond agency cancel the bond. When a bond is canceled, the defendant will be taken back into custody and returned to jail until they can make other bail bond arrangements or until their case is resolved.

Can a bail bond agent refuse to accept a potential co-signer?

Much like other types of loans, a co-signer must meet certain requirements in order to be able to co-sign a bail bond agreement. Generally, a potential co-signer must be a United States citizen, live in the area, and have acceptable credit and income or some other type of stable financial resources. In some areas, a co-signer can also use real estate or some other types of valuables as collateral. 

How much will it cost at the time the bail bond is issued? 

A bail bond agent typically charges a percentage of the bond, plus any fees required by the court or arresting agency. In many areas, the percentage is often ten percent of the total bond amount, plus any required fees. For example, if your friend's total bond amount is $5,000, the initial fee would be $500, plus any required fees. You may want to consider whether your friend will be able to reimburse you for your investment as part of making your decision. 

It is important for potential bail bond co-signers to fully understand the process and their liability before signing any agreement. Contacting a bail bondsman in your area to discuss your concerns is the best way to make sure that you make the right decision for both you and your friend.