Before you give the equity in your home or car as collateral against a bail bond take a deep breath and realize that the bondsman will take a lien against that asset. What does this mean for you? If the person you just bailed out of jail does not appear in court then the bondsman can and will take your home, vehicle or any other collateral that you have pledged.
Desperate times makes people do desperate things but I know of nothing that compels one legally, morally or ethically to help someone else out to the point of placing yourself into financial disaster (this is keeping in mind that it is not one of your minor children). I am not saying that you should never help anyone out but rather I am saying think twice before giving someone a financial interest in your property.
Also keep in mind the general nature of cosigning a bail bond. Make no mistake, if you cosign a bail bond and your person jumps bail or does not appear in court you are financially liable for the entire amount of the bond. This means if you consign a $10,000 bond your upfront premium is $1,000. If your person jumps bail your liability is for the entire $10,000 (often referred to as the face value) plus the fees and costs it takes to collect that defendant or the reimbursement for the bond.
If you cosign the bail bond and are facing the possibility of being liable for the face value of the bond can you discharge it in bankruptcy? Affordable Bail Bonds, Inc. v. Sandoval (In re Sandoval) the bankruptcy court said yes and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals also said the debt was dischargeable. But why be forced into bankruptcy because of a bail bond?
Think twice before ever cosigning a bond as you may end losing more than you ever bargained for.
Last modified: March 25, 2013