If your loved one calls you and tells you that they have been arrested, you may get to work trying to bail them out of jail. Many bail bondsmen services require an individual to have a co-signer, or someone to vouch that they will not flee while they are out on bail. While you may be trying to help out a loved one, it is important that you fully understand the financial impact of bail bonds. Here is some financial information that you need to know prior to co-signing for a bail bond.
What it Means to Co-Sign For a Bail Bond
When you co-sign for a bail bond, you are agreeing to pay for your loved one's bail if they flee. It is important to note that when you post bail for someone with a bondsman, that bondsmen only charge ten percent to post bail. For example, if bail is set at $10,000, you will pay $1,000 to bail them out of jail. If they run while out on bail, you are responsible for the full bail amount, or $10,000. Many people think they are responsible only for the amount they have already paid, which is not correct.
How a Bail Bond Can Impact Your Credit
If a bail bondsman has agreed to take payments for the initial bond amount, or if your loved one flees, you can be held financially responsible for both obligations. A bail bonds company is allowed to use debt collection techniques to get their money back and they can report the debt to credit reporting agencies, which can impact your credit report.
How a Bail Bond Can Impact Your Finances
Lastly, it is important to understand that in an effort to recover any money that they are owed, a bail bondsmen service can seek a judgment against you for the amount they are owed. A judgment may allow them to garnish your wages or to seize bank accounts and assets. In addition to this, judgment are typically not allowed to be discharged in bankruptcy, so you will be stuck paying the debt.
Co-signing for a bail bond with bondsmen services can financially leave you with quite a bit of exposure if the individual flees while out on bail. As such, you should only co-sign bail bonds for people who you fully trust and who you know you will be able to locate if they miss a court hearing. If your loved one has been arrested, contact a bail bondsmen service to learn more about bailing your loved one out of jail as quickly as possible.