Is a Co-Signer Responsible for the Full Bail Amount?

Posted on May 19th, 2011 by Tonya Page
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Today’s question comes from Yahoo Answers, where we regularly answer bail related questions: 

Question: If someone signs a bonds paper as a co signer do they really have to pay for the full bail amount if I don’t show up?

Answer:  It is a fact that a co-signer on a bail bond is agreeing to pay the full bail amount  if the defendant does not show up  to court and cannot be located.

In most states, when the defendant doesn’t show up to court as promised, the bondsman and the co-signer have some time to get the defendant back into court. As long as defendant goes back, the co-signer will not pay the full bail amount. They will need to pay only if the defendant cannot be located.

That said, why would you not show up? You certainly do not want to be running from the law — every state has access to warrants nationwide. The reason the bail bonds system is effective is because the bondsman will come looking for you. Between the legal system and the bondsman, it would be best for you to simply go to court. Plus, someone was generous enough to get you out of jail. The least you can do is take care of your situation so they are no longer on the hook.

If you’ve already missed your court date, you can easily arrange a new court date and your bondsman can help. You should call right away.

Got a bail related question? Ask The Bondsman

12 responses to “Is a Co-Signer Responsible for the Full Bail Amount?”

  1. mike l writes:

    If I am a cosigner on someone’s bail bond and they fail to appear for court and cannot be located, can the bond forfeiture be discharged in bankruptcy?

  2. Tonya Page writes:

    Bail bonds are not generally discharged in bankruptcy. You will want to check with your bankruptcy attorney for specifics.

  3. Cecilia Tovar writes:

    So if the defendent goes to there court date the cosigner wouldn’t pay anything or lose their ownship to their home or car.

  4. dezzy writes:

    If I am a cosigner can I be arrested if the defendant doesn’t go to court and can’t be located? ?

  5. Tonya Page writes:

    If you are the co-signer, you are responsible to get the defendant back into court or pay the full amount of the bail.

  6. Tonya Page writes:

    The cosigner will pay the bail bondsman’s fee — in most states that is 10% of the full bail amount.

  7. kaybug writes:

    If I co signed on a bond and they can’t find him.. would I be arrested if I can’t come up with all the bail money.

  8. Tonya Page writes:

    You won’t be arrested, but you will be responsible first and foremost to help get him back into court. If he cannot be located, you will be responsible to pay for the bail in full.

  9. Alex writes:

    if i am a co signer and they lost contact of him or her and she does not pay the bail and i dont have money to pay what will happen?

  10. Alma writes:

    Can a bondsman take my home if i am a co signer and did not give a deed of trust, i am being sued by bond company because family member did not show up for court.

  11. Dawn writes:

    My brother was arrested, the bail bondsman fee was $900, I needed to pay $500, and they set up a payment plan for him for the remaining $400. 2 Days after he was released he was taken back into custody for violating his parole (being arrested), and he must remain in jail until his court date. My question is, am I obligated to pay the remaining $400 since I gave them the original payment? There will be no problem with him making his court date because he will not be releases

  12. Jake Tyler writes:

    I am a co-signer on a bond. The defendant was arrested in a different county. The bail bondsman told me I am responsible for the 8%. I understand that. I need to know what the consequences are for me not paying (not because I don’t want to, because I can’t afford it) can I be arrested for not paying?
    From: OC, California

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