By Charlie Brown

If your loved family member, friend, or coworker is arrested, you may have a strong sense of obligation towards them. As a result, you may try everything possible to get them out of jail. However, keep in mind that bail bonds need co-signing and you should be cautious before becoming a cosigner. Coughing up hundreds of dollars for a friend may seem easy. However, signing into a binding contract agreement is different. Here are factors to keep in mind before you co-sign a bail bond.

Your credit can be affected

Most bail bond agencies may make credit inquiries to determine the suitability of potential cosigners. Make sure that you carefully read the contract and understand the terms and conditions. If it is not clear whether they use the credit rating factor, then you should ask them directly and request for the same in writing. If you fail to honor your obligations as a cosigner, legal action may be taken against you in the event of a bond forfeiture.

Keep records

When cosigning a bail bond for your relative or loved one, you should never rely on your memory to remember the terms and conditions. You are entitled to getting a copy of everything that you sign during the bail process. Make sure that ask the bail bond agents for a copy of the records if one is not offered. Having all the records comes inhandy, for a long-term commitment or in the event of any problem.

The agreement is binding until the end of the case

One common misconception that many people believe is that the bail bond will only be in force until after the first court appearance. However, the bond is binding and effective through all the stages of the trial proceedings. As a cosigner, this means that you are on the hook until the courts of law rule not guilty, guilty, or even dismissed and this can take days, weeks, months, and even years. This means that this can potentially be a long-term commitment and you should consider whether you really know the defender before cosigning. For more information, check out Castle Bail Bonds: Ohio’s Trusted Bondsman.

The indemnity contract is enforceable in court

Apart from severe credit actions, a forfeited bail bond contract could result in a long civil suit or land you in jail. Unresolved civil judgments against bail bond cosigners from defaulted contracts can negatively affect your life. For example, they will impact your employment, complicate the renewal of specific professional licenses, or result in seizing of personal property. Therefore, before you co-sign a bail bond, you should be aware of all the consequence of forfeiting.

Co-signers have obligations and rights

As a co-signer, you have obligations as well as rights. If you feel uncomfortable with the arrangements you have with your loved one, you can opt out. For example, if you think the offender will miss their court date or they are still taking part in illegal activities, you can talk to the bail bond company. You can decide to cancel the bond and the individual will go back to jail without any financial penalties on you.

Cosigning a bail bond for a loved one or a friend is a huge responsibility that should be taken very seriously. It is best to cosign only after doing a careful analysis of the relationship that you have with the defendant. You should also consider the level of responsibility of the defendant and your ability to fulfill all your obligations under the contract.

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