When you co-sign a bail bond for defendant, you are the “indemnitor” and as such, become legally and financially responsible for making sure the defendant is present at all court appearances and fulfills all of their court mandated obligations.
Further, you are agreeing to accept full responsibility for the entire face amount of the bond if the defendant fails to appear in court. This responsibility includes the entire premium and/or any other fees associated with the bond.
Indemnitor – Often called a “co-signer”, the indemnitor is responsible for signing a bail agreement/contract, and qualifying for the bond on behalf of the defendant.
Defendant – The person in custody.
Face Amount – The full amount of the bond.
Premium – The amount payable to release the defendant from custody, most often 10% of the bond.
Collateral – Security used to guarantee repayment of a loan.
An indemnitor assumes a serious financial risk so it is vital that you know the defendant well and have full trust and confidence that they will fulfill their legal obligations.
The indemnitor’s risk may include any collateral taken to secure the bond, such as a property deed, car title, or other item of value.
Once the defendant’s case is completed, the indemnitor’s responsibility is fulfilled. A case may be completed if/when the defendant appears at all mandated court dates, the defendant is sentenced, the case is dismissed or the bond is exonerated.
As an indemnitor, remember that in signing the agreement you are attesting that the information submitted is accurate. Rendering false information can result in being charged with a felony.
There are occasions when an indemnitor may refuse to pay for a bond when the defendant fails to appear for court. If legal action is required, it often means that the indemnitor is now also responsible for all legal fees and cost of collection.
One very important item to understand is that whatever the outcome of the case, the premium you agreed to pay to the bondsman for the original release of the defendant must be paid in full. In other words, if you agreed to a payment plan for the premium, you must continue to make all payments until the premium is paid in full. When the premium is paid in full, there are no further financial obligations.