Many people have a friend or relative who seems to get themselves into trouble from time to time. While this friend or relative may be a responsible person most of the time when at work or with family, they may occasionally lapse into periods of substance abuse or other reckless behaviors that can result in being arrested and charged with a crime, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI).
When this happens, they may call on you with a request to cosign their bail bond so that they will not have to remain in jail until their court date arrives. But cosigning a bail bond is a serious commitment that should never be taken lightly, even for a good friend or close relative.
If you have been asked to cosign a bail bond agreement in this type of situation, here are some things you may not know, but should, in order to protect yourself and provide better help to your loved one.
You can make stipulations
When asked to cosign a bail bond agreement for someone who clearly has a substance abuse or similar problem, you should know that you can use the opportunity to try to help them. Instead of just agreeing to cosign, consider explaining to them that you would like to help them but will have to condition any help upon them taking actions to become more responsible in the future.
A good example of this type of condition is when you opt to include stipulations in the bail bond agreement that the defendant must agree to attend counseling or appropriate treatment to reduce the chances of recurring legal trouble.
You can cancel the agreement
Cosigners to bail bond agreements may also not be aware that they have some control over the situation and can actually withdraw their signature and cancel the agreement at any time. By understanding this right and making the defendant aware that are serious about the possibility of exercising it if needed, cosigners are helping to ensure that the defendant honors both the agreement and their relationship with the cosigner.
Bail bond cosigners who have knowledge that the defendant is not honoring all terms and conditions of the agreement can notify the bail bond agent of their wish to cancel the bond. The defendant will then be taken back into custody to await their court date.
To learn more about your rights and responsibilities as the cosigner of a bail bond, take time to meet with a bail bondsman in your local court jurisdiction.