All too often, being a good friend can mean being placed into an uncomfortable situation. One example of this is when a friend contacts you to confess that they have been arrested and then asks you to cosign for their bail bond so that they will not be forced to remain in jail until their court date. 

If the friendship is strong, chances are that you will want to help a good friend who finds themselves in this situation, but before doing so, it is important that you also understand the risks that will be involved.

The financial risks of cosigning a bail bond

The first risk that must be considered results from the fact that the typical bail bond agreement includes significant financial risk for a cosigner. In the event that the defendant does not meet the conditions of their bond agreement, the party who has cosigned the bond agreement can become financially responsible for the entire amount of their bond, a sum that may be tens of thousands of dollars or more, depending on the charges. 

Bail bond cosigners do, however, have some avenues to mitigate this risk. One of the most effective of these is the ability of the cosigner to request cancellation of the bail bond, a move that will remove their financial responsibility and force the defendant to be returned to jail while awaiting trial. Before agreeing to cosign a friend's bail bond, it is a good idea to discuss this possibility with your friend and make sure that they understand that this action on your part could become necessary should they fail to honor the all terms of their bond. 

The risk of fueling out-of-control behavior

Another risk that must be considered whenever a friend requests that you cosign their bail bond agreement is whether or not that action could fuel further bad behavior on their part. If the requesting friend struggles with substance abuse or other out-of-control behavior issues, helping them remain free while awaiting trial may not be an automatic choice. 

When faced with this type of situation, those who have been asked to cosign a bail bond may want to consider taking an action that could have potential benefits for their troubled friend. One way to do this includes setting bond conditions that will help the friend make better choices and decisions, such as stipulating that a term of the bond will include the requirement that the defendant voluntarily consent to drug or alcohol counseling or treatment while free on bond.

To learn more about the risks of cosigning a friend's bail bond and how to best mitigate those risks, take time to discuss your concerns with a reputable bail bond agent like an agent from Sanctuary Bail Bonds.