For a moment, imagine that you just received a phone call from a loved one that has suddenly found themselves in jail. A little bewildered and confused as to what to do next, you feel a sudden surge of emotion. Of course, you feel the pressure to help get them out of jail as quickly as possible. After all, they felt confident in the fact that they could count on you to help them in their time of dire need.


First Step in Bailing Someone Out

Because it’s not something most people have been called on to do, you should contact a bail bonding company and arrange to pay their bond amount, which is generally 10% of the court-set bail amount. The bail bond is a binding promise that you, as the indemnitor, are paying and signing on the defendant’s behalf, stating that you will make sure that the defendant shows up in court at the scheduled date and time. As part of the agreement, you put the cash up and sign the bond. All done, right?


Not necessarily.


While it’s understandable to think that coming up with the money is the hardest part of bailing someone out, that’s not always the case. It’s also important to know what else you, as the indemnitor, are legally responsible for.


Court Dates and Appearances

Once the defendant has been released in anticipation of a future court date when their case will be heard before a judge, there are usually assorted appointments and appearances that a defendant must attend in order to fulfill the obligations of their bail agreement. Legally, it is ultimately up to you, the person who bailed them out, to make sure that they attend these court-mandated appointments. If they don’t show up, believe it or not, you might also suffer the consequences of the defendant’s absence(s).


Pay for the Defendant’s Absences

If the defendant misses mandatory court dates and appointments, the court will probably charge them fines or additional fees related to their absence(s). Whether it’s individual fines, penalties, court costs, or even – in extreme cases – paying a recovery agent, also known as a bounty hunter, to bring the defendant to justice, your financial accountability is serious and not to be taken lightly.


Pay the Defendant’s Entire Bail Amount

In extreme cases, if the defendant has “skipped bail,” or hasn’t shown up for any of their appearances or court dates and you have no clue where they might be. The limit of your financial responsibility doesn’t just stop at the costs discussed in the previous paragraph. Beyond fines, penalties, assorted court costs and more, you, as the indemnitor, are also ultimately responsible for the paying the entire bail amount if the defendant is nowhere to be found. In addition, if for some reason, you offered up collateral in lieu of cash to pay the bond amount, you would then lose the right to the collateral, allowing the bonding company to leverage the collateral to finance the cost of bringing the defendant to justice.


Seek Advice From a Professional

Just as the law and the court system mean business, you should do the same when you’re called on to help bail out a loved one. Bailing them out is only part of your responsibility. Because it’s an anxious situation, it’s understandable that you would want to pay and sign all the paperwork as quickly as possible in order to reduce the amount of time your loved one has to spend in jail. That’s why it’s important to contact an experienced and trustworthy bonding agent like 24-7 Bail Bonds who can explain it all to you in clear and certain terms so that you can make the wisest decision possible. A licensed 24-7 Bail Bonds agent will discuss your options with you in an effort to help you make the best decision possible — for both you and your loved one.