Top 4 Signs You Should Not Post Bail for a Friend
There are few things that are more unnerving than getting a call from a friend who says they need help getting out of jail.
Your first instinct may be to step in and help; no one wants to imagine someone locked up behind bars.
If the person in custody is your best friend who you’ve known your whole life, then yes, you should contact a bondsman as quickly as possible.
On the flip side of that coin, there are certain circumstances in which you should think twice about signing a bail bonds contract.
4. You haven’t heard from them in years
Let’s say you get a call from a guy you haven’t seen since 10th grade English class. Sure, you’re Facebook friends, but why are they calling you? (Unless you are a bondsman!)
Why aren’t they calling a good friend or family member?
Perhaps they have burned all of those bridges and no one is willing to take full legal responsibility that they will go to court. If someone calls you out of the blue asking for help with bail bonds, it’s probably because they’re grasping at straws to get out.
3. You barely know them
Every now and then our office will get a call from someone saying they need help getting a friend out of jail but when we ask them how long they’ve known each other, they’ll say “just a few weeks!”
This all goes back to our original point- why aren’t they calling someone they’re close with? Why aren’t they reaching out to family?
Maybe they figure you don’t know them well enough to know they’re unreliable and are hoping to talk you into doing something no one else on the planet would agree to.
Or, maybe they think you’re a great person who is willing to help. The individual is a great person too.
However, as bondsmen, we are looking for stability. Bail is a big responsibility.
2. They have a serious substance abuse problem or have an unstable lifestyle
It’s no news that drug addicts are unpredictable and they are often known for skirting out on obligations.
When you cosign a bail bonds agreement you’ll want to remember you are signing a legally binding contract that guarantees two things: one, the defendant will go to court; and two, if they disappear and cannot be found, you are personally guaranteeing to cover their full bail amount.
If the person in custody can’t keep a job, they’re in and out of trouble and they’re crashing on a different couch every night, these should all serve as big red flags.
In a case like this, a close family member is a better option for bailing this individual out of jail.
1. You don’t think they’ll go to court
If you have a friend who doesn’t have established roots in the country, they’ve been charged with a serious offense, are facing years behind bars and and all of their family lives overseas– this should also raise an eyebrow.
The defendant’s flight risk is pretty substantial in this case because there’s a good chance they’ll skip the country to evade prosecution. When that happens, you’ll be the one left holding the bag.
Although the “skip rate” is less than 5% nationally for those is released on bail, defendants who are facing serious time are far more likely to skip than someone who is arrested for shoplifting, or a basic first-time DUI.
That said, sometimes we each get that little voice saying this is a bad idea. If you think the defendant won’t show up in court, don’t bail them out. Save yourself the headache.
Last Updated: 08/30/2014