Learn the answers to the most frequently asked questions about acting as a surety for someone who has been arrested and taken to jail.
Acting as one’s surety is a serious responsibility. If a person fails to appear for their scheduled court hearing, you are responsible for paying the remainder of the bond amount on their behalf. If you do not have the cash to pay off the bond, you would likely have to forfeit assets, such as real estate and vehicles. This means you could lose your home, your vehicles, your savings, and more. Because of the seriousness of becoming one’s surety, it is common for people to have a lot of questions and concerns. Continue reading to review some frequently asked questions and answers about acting as a surety in order to obtain a release from jail for a friend or loved one.
What Does It Mean to Act as One’s Surety?
Signing bail bond paperwork, also known as an agreement or contract, you are becoming one’s surety. This means you will supervise them while they are out on bail to ensure they do not leave town, break any further laws, and appear for their scheduled court hearing. If they do not appear for court, you face financial penalties. A surety must be approved by the court.
As a Person’s Surety, Do I Have to Make a Payment Upfront?
Yes; an upfront payment will need to be made to the bail bond company during the signing of the bail bond contract, which must take place before the process can begin. This fee depends on the set bond amount and the local percentage regulations. Most Indiana bail bond companies are authorized to charge anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the total bond amount. This fee is nonrefundable and due at the time of signing.
Can I Be a Surety if My Income is Low?
Your income should not make too much of a difference as long as you can prove you are employed full-time and have been employed consistently for a long duration of time. This shows the bail bondsman that you are capable of paying the entire bond amount in the case that the defendant fails to appear for court. Having assets also helps. You can put up collateral, such as real estate, vehicles, stocks, and more.
After I Agree to Act as a Surety, Can I Change My Mind?
Whether the trial is taking too long or you have fallen tired of keeping track of the defendant, you may change your mind and want to rid yourself of the responsibility. Unfortunately, this is not easy. Once you sign the bail bond agreement, you are in a contract. However, you can go to the court and request to “pull” the bail. But this means they will also issue an arrest warrant for your friend or loved one, and they would have to surrender to police, get booked in jail, and post bail all over again. The decision is up to you!
Can I Be a Surety if I Have a Criminal Record?
Usually a minor criminal record will not keep you from being qualified to act as a surety. It depends on the severity of the charges and/or convictions, whether or not you have any pending warrants or charges, and a few other factors.