When you help bail someone out of jail and co-sign a bail bond contract, you become the bond’s indemnitor. This means that you assume certain responsibilities to the court and the bail bond agent. Most specifically, you promise to pay the bond if the accused fails to appear in court and the bail is forfeited. You will also be responsible for any costs the bondsman may incur if he has to track down the accused and bring him to court.
If you should ever be asked to become an indemnitor on a bail bond, be sure you understand what you’re agreeing to and read the contract carefully. Many people are put into the position of helping a family member or loved one who has been arrested without knowing what the responsibilities are nor what the potentially damaging consequences entail. Before you agree to be an indemnitor, ask yourself the following questions:
- How long have you known the person you are bailing out?
- How well do you really know him?
- Do you trust him, and Is he responsible enough to appear in court as scheduled?
- Does he have a home or family out of state or out of the country?
- Does he have a source of income from which to pay you back in time?
Take all things in consideration. Make sure to understand the terms and conditions of the bail bond before you sign on the dotted line. This way, you insulate yourself from any potential troubles in the future.