It is expected to feel confused and want to secure your loved one’s prompt release after receiving news of their arrest. You become a cosigner when entering a San Jacinto bail bonds agreement to free your relative or friend. However, being an indemnitor comes with responsibilities and risks. You must understand them before signing anything. Please read this blog post to learn more about indemnitor liability in California and make an informed decision.

Defining Who is an Indemnitor

Bail is the amount of money or assets you post with the court to secure a release as you await your trial. If you fail to appear in court when required, the court will forfeit the bail amount. However, if you attend all court hearings after your case resolution, the court will refund your bail to the individual who paid it, regardless of whether you are convicted. In other words, bail guarantees that you will attend your court hearings. Sometimes, the court can deduct fines from your bail money before refunding it.

If a defendant cannot raise the required bail amount, you will require a bail bond firm and an indemnitor. Co-signing involves signing a promissory note or an indemnity contract that ensures the individual pays the entire bond should the accused skip bail. The defendant is released from detention after co-signing the bond.

Sometimes, bondsmen require co-signers to offer tangible assets as collateral. It could include motor vehicles, cash, homes, stocks, jewelry, electronics, credit cards, or anything with proof of ownership. When this happens, the bondsman will receive the funds they post with the court. Should the defendant skip bail and cannot be located, you have two options as a cosigner, namely:

  • Paying the whole San Jacinto bail bonds amount, or
  • Surrendering your asset to secure the bail.

An indemnitor vouches for the accused and promises to support them while they await trial. A co-signer could be any person who knows the accused individual. The stronger your relationship, the greater the chances of your bondsman accepting the co-signer. Typically, long-time friends, colleagues, spouses, and relatives are a sure bet. If you and the accused live in different states, please contact your San Jacinto bail bonds company to get answers to your questions and learn how to go about it.

However, only some are eligible to be indemnitors. Here are the qualifications that make an ideal co-signer:

  • You should be a United States citizen.
  • You must be over 18 years — If the defendant is a juvenile, the co-signer should be the ward of the court’s legal guardian or parent.
  • Stable employment — A consistent source of income or a steady job demonstrates your reliability and capability to cover every potential cost. Before signing the co-signer agreement, your bondsman might request your Social Security Number (SSN) and a financial statement.
  • Residency stability — Residing in one area for an extended duration could indicate stability, which bail bondsmen view positively.
  • Good credit score — A good credit score shows your bail bonds agent that you are trustworthy and can pay the entire bail amount if the defendant fails to meet the requirements.
  • Low debt-to-income ratio — The bail bond company wants to ensure you pay the defendant’s bail if they skip bail. You are eligible if you have a high debt amount relative to your income.
  • How close is your relationship with the defendant — The closer you are to the defendant, the greater your commitment to meet the needed obligations.

Responsibilities of an Indemnitor

As an indemnitor, you are accountable for the accused person and the bail amount. Being a co-signer entails entering into an agreement as a responsible party for your loved one. If there is at least one indemnitor, all are liable.

Your initial responsibility is to pay your relative’s premium. Most San Jacinto bail bonds companies charge ten percent of the entire bond as their fee for assuring the bond and securing the defendant’s release. Typically, an indemnitor will pay the premium in cash, which is non-refundable.

Secondly, when you co-sign, you voluntarily assume the responsibility for ensuring the defendant makes the scheduled court appearance. If the accused individual skips bail, the court will forfeit the entire bail amount, and the bond dealer and court will require you to pay the whole amount.

Additionally, you can face legal consequences. Your bonding company can hire bounty hunters to locate the fugitive. You should pay the cost of engaging bounty hunters. Sometimes, your bondsman can take legal action against you if you cannot compensate the bounty hunters, and you must appear before the judge to fight for your rights.

If the bounty hunters find the fugitive and arrest them, you could also be required to appear in court to give more information about the matter. It is a time-consuming and stressful process that can adversely affect the quality of your life.

Please note that the duties of an indemnitor vary based on your San Jacinto bail bonds agreement and your legal situation.

What Happens If the Defendant is Re-arrested While on San Jacinto Bail Bonds?

The bond could be surrendered, and your co-signing responsibility terminated after the defendant is re-arrested. Nevertheless, it presents several issues, namely:

  • You will lose the amount or collateral you had initially paid once you surrender the bond.
  • You will have to post bail bond again if you decide to secure your loved one's release.

What are San Jacinto Bail Bonds Co-Signer Rights

It is essential to note that you have legal rights after co-signing your bail agreement.

First, you are entitled not to be an indemnitor. It is wise to only enter into a law-binding contract after fully comprehending that you would be accountable for paying the defendant’s entire bail bond amount if they skip bail or violate their release condition.

Second, you can revoke the bond after co-signing. If you believe the accused person will flee the jurisdiction, you can contact the court or your bonding company and express your concerns and wish to terminate the contract. In this case, law enforcers will return the defendant to detention until their trial.

Some ways to protect yourself from the risk of co-signing include the following:

  • Contacting the defendant through other relatives or their defense attorney and encouraging them to attend their court proceedings.
  • Contact your bondsman after learning the accused has fled — The company has strategies and resources to locate the defendant.
  • Work with the bounty hunters to locate the accused.
  • Work with an attorney who can assist you in navigating the process and ensuring your interests are protected.
  • If you believe the accused has fled to another jurisdiction, work with the police in that state to find and arrest the defendant.

Factors to Consider Before Co-Signing an Individual

Some of the recommended factors to consider before agreeing to co-sign your loved one include the following:

Defendant in Question

When deciding whether to co-sign San Jacinto bail bonds for a person, the first thing to consider is the defendant. There is a lot of financial and personal responsibility at stake, and the last thing you want is to waste your money on a person who can get you into debt due to their irresponsibility or be a repeat offender. Therefore, ensure the defendant is an individual you care about.

Always use your judgment and the accused's discretion before entering any contract.

The Relevant Paperwork

When you enter into a bail bonds co-signing agreement, you sign a law-binding document that can hold you liable for the accused. Therefore, ensure you comprehend its terms before appending your signature.

Co-signer applications ask for personal details, including banking and employer information. You can also refuse to co-sign if you have a problem with these terms.

Personal Responsibilities

It is a massive commitment to be a co-signer. It involves ensuring the defendant:

  • Does not skip bail.
  • Complies with their release conditions.
  • Refrains from interacting with bad influences.
  • Becomes a productive member of society.

Financial Liability and Duties

You will be liable if the accused individual violates their bail terms or jumps bail and cannot be located within 180 days. You risk losing your collateral if the defendant cannot repay the outstanding bail bond payment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Discussed below are some of the commonly asked questions about indemnitor liability:

  1. What are the Defendant’s Responsibilities?

Before releasing you, the defendant, the judge will impose bail conditions that you must comply with based on your criminal record, the severity of your alleged crime, whether you are a flight risk, and your mental and physical condition. The bail conditions seek to ensure you make future court appearances and safeguard your community.

As a defendant, you should abide by all your conditions. Common conditions include the following:

  • Obeying all laws.
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol, using drugs, and participating in random tests.
  • Not possessing firearms.
  • Staying away from specific people or places.
  • Following curfews.
  • Seeking or maintaining employment.
  • Adhering to travel limitations and surrendering your passport and driver’s license.
  1. Can an Indemnitor Go to Jail?

No, you cannot be detained for co-signing a bail bond.

Nonetheless, there are other repercussions if you fail to uphold your responsibilities. 

  1. What are Some of the Mistakes You Can Avoid as a Co-Signer?

San Jacinto bail bonds play a significant role in the California legal system, but navigating the process can be tricky. Here are things to avoid to ensure a smooth experience:

  • Submitting incorrect details — You should also ensure that you and the defendant provide the bonding firm with accurate information when completing the relevant paperwork. These details include the defendant’s name, the co-signer’s name, the total bail amount, contact address information, the name and location of the jurisdiction holding the accused, the booking number, and the alleged criminal activity. If this information is incorrect, the bondsman can deny your request. Please verify all details before your bonding company posts bail to avoid future complications.
  • Delaying the process — You should contact a certified bond dealer immediately after you learn the police have arrested your loved one to initiate their release process. Most defendants and their families are typically too stressed and confused to determine the next step. The delay can be expensive by extending your loved one’s detention time. It also prevents them from returning to work, spending quality time with their family, and building the criminal case defense.
  • Lying to your bondsman — After contacting your bondsman, they will ask you questions to understand your situation and start the release process. One mistake most individuals make is lying to bail bondsmen. You might think lying is harmless, but it could later derail the release process and result in complications. For instance, if you cheat about the defendant’s criminal record, the lie could impact the defendant’s reliability.
  1. Does Co-Signing Affect Your Credit Score?

Although posting bail will not impact your credit score, subsequent consequences can affect it. You can post the bail bond using a credit card if you have available credit. Even if this does not impact your score, failing to make regular payments can lead to a lower score.

Another instance of how bail bonds can indirectly impact a person’s score is if they use their home as collateral and later break the bond agreement. In this case, you could lose your home and be forced to file a bankruptcy case. Co-signing a friend or relative is not an issue, provided you plan to comply with your bond terms and repay your debt if you use your credit card. Nevertheless, your credit could be affected if you foresee challenges with either of the situations.

Most seasoned bail bond companies understand this is an intimidating process and offer financing that meets your needs, and San Jacinto bail bonds with a down payment option.

Contact a Competent Bail Bond Company Near Me

By becoming an indemnitor, you can assist your loved one during the complicated California judicial process to secure their release promptly. However, since co-signing has risks, it is crucial to work with a San Jacinto bail bondsman like Faustos Bail Bonds to learn the risks and benefits of your situation. Even if you still need clarification about the process, our team can explain what to expect and answer your questions, allowing you to make wise decisions. We offer seamless, affordable, and prompt services to ensure your loved one returns to matters in their lives faster. Please contact us at 855-328-7867 to get started.