When someone you know has been arrested, they may turn to you for help in posting their bail. If you agree to help them, you will have the option to either pay the full bail amount directly to the court or jail or to use the services of a bail bondsman. When you sign a bail bond contract with a licensed bail bond company, you become known as the "indemnitor". This means that you are assuming responsibility to the court and the bail agent.
A Bail Bond Is A Legal Contract
As the signer of a bail bond contract, you are guaranteeing that the defendant will show up for court. In many cases where the defendant fails to appear, it is a simple situation such as an illness, car trouble, or just forgetting the date of the court hearing. Situations such as these are understandable and can be resolved easily by reinstating the bond and rescheduling a new court date.
Failure To Appear In Court
There are occasionally instances where the defendant has no intention of making court appearance once they've been bailed out. If you have any reason to believe that the defendant will purposefully skip court or even leave the area, do not consider bailing them out. You won't be criminally liable for the defendant's actions, but you will be civilly liable.
It is important for you to understand the bail bonds process and your responsibilities as an indemnitor before you enter into a bail bond contract on someone else's behalf. As signer you are responsible for the defendant's appearance at every court date. If they fail to appear in court, you are responsible to help the bondsman get the defendant back into court or jail.
Making The Decision For A Bail Bond
If someone you know has been arrested, you may want to do what you can to bail them out so they won't have to spend too long in jail. Before making what could be a very costly decision, think it over carefully. If you have any reason to believe that he or she will refuse to appear in court once they've been released, don't arrange bail for them. It may seem very harsh to just let them sit in jail during their court proceedings, which could last weeks, months, or even years, but it would be a great financial liability to you if you posted a bond for them and they decided to leave the area instead of handling their legal issues.