If a friend, relative or colleague gets in legal trouble and gets put in jail, he or she may be able to buy his or her freedom. This generally means obtaining a bail bond, but that person may need a cosigner. Let’s look at some issues to consider before agreeing to be that cosigner.

Be Sure This Person Is Trustworthy

In the event that an individual doesn’t show up for court, you are required to pay the full amount of the bond. Therefore, it is critical that the person who you cosign for is trustworthy and honorable enough to abide by his or her legal obligations. It may be a good idea to ask the person who you are cosigning for agree to reimburse you in the event that the bond is revoked.

Decide If You Can Risk Paying the Full Bond

The amount of a bail bond can range from $500 all the way to $50,000 or more. If you can’t afford to pay the full amount if ordered to, you should decline to cosign for your friend or family member. Generally speaking, it isn’t worth risking your ability to make mortgage or car payments just because someone else made a mistake.

Imagine If the Roles Were Reversed

Before agreeing to cosign for a bail bond, think about whether this person would be willing to help if the roles were reversed. If the answer is yes, feel free to help someone close to you obtain their freedom. If the answer is no, you shouldn’t feel bad not jeopardizing your financial situation for someone who may not be grateful for the help.

Create a Plan to Keep the Defendant in Check

Prior to cosigning on a bail bond, be sure that you can work effectively with the bail bondsman who issues it. Ideally, you and this other party will be able to create safeguards to ensure that whoever is receiving the bond will show up to court dates. Be sure to ask if you can revoke bail through the bondsman if the defendant is likely to skip court.

Typically, an individual has a greater chance of obtaining a favorable outcome in a case when fighting it from outside of jail. Therefore, you could be helping a person enhance their ability to pursue justice by cosigning on a bail bond. However, it is just as important that you don’t put your financial stability at stake if you can’t afford to or don’t trust the person in custody.

Author's Bio: 

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.