Those who have just been told that a spouse or significant other has been arrested are sure to feel unsettled and unsure of what they can or should do to help their loved one. Unless the detained party is to be released on their own recognizance (also known as an O.R. bond), one of the probable first actions will be to assist by arranging a bail bond that will allow the defendant to remain free until their court date.
You can use the following information to more easily navigate the process to a successful outcome.
Gather information and consult an attorney
When a loved one has been arrested, it is important to first make sure that they are physically well or have received any necessary medical treatment. This information should be available through the arresting officer or agency. In most cases, it is also wise to contact an attorney and retain their services for the defendant at this point in the process.
Once you have confirmed the defendant's safety and physical condition and you've called an attorney, it's time to gather some specific information that you will need to move forward with the bail bond process. You will need to know:
Once the basic information has been gathered, you should next plan to assist with the defendant's bail bond process and make sure you meet the basic qualification for co-signing a bail bond. These qualifications include:
If you co-sign a bail bond, you are assuring the court that the defendant will meet all the conditions of their bond (including appearing in court) and you're acknowledging that you understand that you may be held responsible for the entire bond amount should the defendant default on the agreement.
Cancel a bail bond agreement
Co-signers who find that the defendant is continuing to engage in legal behavior or is failing to meet their obligations do have the option of canceling the bond agreement. This is usually done by contacting the bail bond agent who performs the task of making legal notification to the court system so that a warrant for the defendant's arrest can be issued. Once a co-signer actually surrenders or cancels a bond, the defendant is usually taken into custody and held in jail until their court date.
Use conditions within the bail bond agreement
Spouses or significant others who have been asked to co-sign a bail bond should be prepared to discuss potential concerns with the bail bond agent and whether they would advise on applying conditions. For instance, if the defendant struggles with alcohol or drug use, a bail bond co-signer should consider making the bail bond agreement contingent upon the defendant's attendance in an appropriate treatment or counseling program.
Find alternative ways to cover the fees
Spouses and significant others who may find it difficult to pay cash for the initial bail bond fees can speak with the bail agent to see if they accept any other form of payment. Some bail bond agents do accept other valuables such as vehicles, guns, or real estate.
Contacting a 24/7 bail bonds service that is familiar with the local court system is the best way to get more specific information about bail bonds and the responsibilities a co-signer assumes.
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