Bailing someone out of jail, even if that someone is you, can be a confusing time. The best way to prepare yourself is by filling your head with knowledge about the surety industry. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about sureties. Review them and then talk to a trusted bail bondsman about your options. Apex Bail Bonds in Danville and Chatham is an excellent resource for this.
What Makes Me a Person’s Surety?
By bailing someone out of jail, you are acting as a surety. If you are the one who signs the bail bond agreement, then you are that person’s surety. Before this can happen officially, it must be approved by the court. Not just everyone can bail a person out of jail, even if it’s themselves.
What Do I Have to Do When I am Acting as Someone’s Surety?
By becoming someone’s surety, you take on a very serious responsibility. Not only are you required to supervise a person’s behavior while they are out on bail, you are required to enforce their bail conditions. That is because if they do not obey their bail conditions, you are at risk of paying back the entire bail premium. So if a person’s bail was set at $5,000 and they failed to appear for their scheduled court hearing, you are responsible for paying back the entire five grand, not just the fee you paid the bail bondsman at the time of bail.
Can There Be More Than One Surety?
It is not common, but it is possible for a court to permit multiple sureties. This is most common in serious cases in which a person requires a level of supervision that can only be adequately provided by more than one person. All sureties are both jointly and separately liable in terms of the bail premium.
Do I Need to Have Cash Up Front to Be a Surety?
The answer to this question is, “yes.” Bail bond companies require an upfront fee for their services. This fee cannot be paid in credit. It must be paid in liquid form, whether cash, property, or other significant liquid asset. The fee is a set percentage of the total bond amount, usually between 10 and 15 percent. It is regulated by the Department of Insurance, and cannot be changed by a bail bondsman.
What Do I Need to Bring to My Hearing if I Am Acting as My Own Surety?
When you act as your own surety, you must have the usual documents at your court hearing. This varies from person to person, but generally include updated photo identification, proof of address, bank statements, paycheck stubs, proof of property ownership (if being used for bail), and anything else that can prove you are financially capable of covering the total bail premium in the case you fail to meet your bail conditions.
Can I Act as a Surety if I Have Little to No Income?
The answer to this question differs from state to state, and from person to person. Talk to a local and trusted bail bondsman about your income level and eligibility requirements.