Getting the call that a loved one has been arrested is never the type of news you wanted to be awakened for. However, the reality is that you're now in this situation, so the question is – what do you do next? If your loved one has asked you to co-sign for their bail, it's great to be eager to help, but make sure you're also taking a moment to step back and think about what you're signing up for.
Think About Their Track Record
Once the request has been asked of you, it's a good idea to sit down and think about the individual's track record. Is this their first time getting in trouble, or does this seem to be a regular occurrence?
Are they someone who keeps their word or are they hard to trust? These questions are very important, especially when it comes to trust. If the person is not trustworthy, there is a probability that they may not show up to their court appearances, which will put you at risk. Think about all these factors before making your decision.
Know You're Equally Responsible
Before signing a bail agreement, it is vital that you understand that you are equally responsible. It's wise to think of these agreements similar to the process of co-signing for a loan.
In the event the other borrower doesn't satisfy their end of the bargain, the lender will look to you for payment, or they will take possession of the vehicle. When the defendant doesn't uphold their end of the bargain, you are responsible for whatever arrangements they did not fulfill or the individual will be rearrested and returned to jail.
Recognize That You Do Have Rights
Lastly, it's important to keep in mind that you do have rights. Agreeing to be a co-signer on a bond does not mean that you are signing your life away. In certain instances, the bail bond company may honor your request to withdraw your signature, or you may be able to petition the courts to do so.
This cancelation is sometimes honored when the defendant has been grossly negligent in their attempt to obey the laws and the conditions of their release.
Before committing, have a conversation with your loved one about what you expect from them and what the potential risks are. A bail bonds professional from companies like Absolute Bail Bonds will be able to answer any questions for you and put you at ease.