Sometimes, in order to pay a bond, a person uses a cosigner. When this happens, the cosigner’s money or property is used as collateral for a defendant to be released on bail. If the defendant does not show up to court, the cosigner is the one who pays. Whatever they used for the bond will be confiscated and will not be returned.
A cosigner is liable for the full amount of the bond plus expenses if a person doesn’t attend their hearing. However, missing court doesn’t necessarily mean you are on the hook for the full amount of the bond. Surety bail agents have the lowest fugitive rate with 3% or less of these defendants becoming fugitives. If a defendant does become a fugitive, bail enforcement agents usually find them and bring them back to justice. Approximately 1% of the fugitives are untraceable. So, for those cases the surety bail bond company usually writes a check for the forfeited bail amount.
Unfortunately for a cosigner, they are liable for the full amount of the bond plus expenses. This is the case if their friend or relative does not go to court. However a failure to appear in court does not necessarily mean you’ll have to pay the full amount of the bond. You should discuss this matter with a lawyer for more information.
If a cosigner notifies the surety bail bondsman of the forfeiture and make arrangements to surrender the defendant to the court, the cosigner may only be liable for the actual expenses the bondsman incurs. While there is no excuse for missing court, we strongly encourage our defendants and cosigners to notify us of any unusual circumstances so that we can advise them as to the best course of action.
Whether you are a defendant in a case or a cosigner, you can contact our office at 203-925-9200 for help.