Should I Help Bail My Nearly Homeless Neighbor
January 22, 2008 11:01 AM   Subscribe

My neighbor's husband is currently holed up at Riker's while his people are scraping bail money together... She's almost there and they both have asked me to cosign the bail bond or whatever it is...

I am stupefied by this... These folks are as ignorant as they are poor. I assume they have no one else to ask so that it maybe dependent on me to get this guy out of the clink... what are the legal ramifications, liabilities etc of signing this document?
posted by eedele to Human Relations (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't do it.

Signing a bail bond means that you are assuming the flight/no-show risk of him in court in lieu of the state holding him until the court date. If he doesn't show, they'll come looking for you.
posted by unixrat at 11:07 AM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


They run, you have to pay it all, don't do it.

IANAL
posted by whoaali at 11:09 AM on January 22, 2008


Don't have anything to do with this. This is what bail bondsmen are for.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 11:09 AM on January 22, 2008


Do not cosign anything. Ever. Except possibly for your own child or spouse.
posted by aramaic at 11:10 AM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


No. Just no. You will be held responsible financially if he doesn't show for court.
posted by chiababe at 11:10 AM on January 22, 2008


Don't do it.
posted by languagehat at 11:12 AM on January 22, 2008


No. Even the Bible backs you up on this. (Book of Proverbs.)
posted by konolia at 11:16 AM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


No. If you want to help, give them the number of your local bail bondsman.
posted by kalimac at 11:16 AM on January 22, 2008


No way.
posted by beagle at 11:19 AM on January 22, 2008


I can only echo what everyone is telling you. Do NOT cosign. I don't care if you are the guy's last chance on the planet of getting out--DO NOT DO IT!
posted by GlowWyrm at 11:20 AM on January 22, 2008


nthing NO.
posted by ostranenie at 11:20 AM on January 22, 2008


Do not do it! When you sign on a bail bond you basically sign all your civil rights over to the bail bondsman. They, or their agents, have the right to search your home and whatnot pretty much whenever they want. I can only assume that it completely bollixes up your credit report.
posted by frieze at 11:28 AM on January 22, 2008


Don't have anything to do with this. This is what bail bondsmen are for.

It may be the bail bonding company that is needing the co-signer.

I agree -- don't do it. It would be crazy to sign for anyone who's not close family or a close friend.
posted by jayder at 11:29 AM on January 22, 2008


I had a friend who bailed out her boyfriend. They had been dating for about 6 months at that point. He seemed like a good guy.

He then fled the country and she had to eat the entire cost of the bail bond.

I think that lesson can be applied to your situation.
posted by Stynxno at 11:40 AM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


You aren't his only chance of getting out. If he's innocent, he'll be released eventually. If he's guilty, the time he's in jail now will be deducted from his sentence. Don't do it.
posted by happyturtle at 11:46 AM on January 22, 2008


Do you need another no?
Because this, to quote an old Saturday Night Live sketch, is Bad Idea Jeans.
posted by pointystick at 11:49 AM on January 22, 2008


All right, all right, all right... i get it. thanks to all you Mefites for weighing in. case closed, question answered.
posted by eedele at 11:49 AM on January 22, 2008


Bail is an amount of money the court imposes upon a defendant as a guarantee that the defendant will appear in court. The other way to guarantee a defendent will appear in court is to hold him or her in custody until the court date(s), which is your neighbor's husband's current status.

The money your neighbor gives to the bail bondsman (roughly 10% of the total amount of bail imposed by the court) isn't refunded, even if her husband keeps his promise to show up in court. The bailsman keeps that 10% as a fee for his services of paying the court the rest of the defendant's bail. I mention this in case your neighbor next asks you to loan her some portion of the bail.

Co-signing on the bail, either to the court or through a bail bondsman, means you are accepting responsibility that the defendant will appear in court as summoned. If the person you have co-signed for fails to appear, you are responsible for paying the full amount of the bail.
posted by jamaro at 11:57 AM on January 22, 2008


This is like teenage suicide—Don't do it.
posted by klangklangston at 12:06 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


[a few comments removed - if you have nothing to add other than your own snarky take on how to say no, save it.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:26 PM on January 22, 2008


In the words of Forrest Gump's mom "Stupid is as stupid does".....please just say no....you WILL find yourself linked to these people for many years to come. Once simple NO will tell them that you are not someone they can count on whenever Billy Jim Bob is in jail. I'm giving you 40 years of Law Enforcement experience...hope you take it.
posted by malter51 at 2:04 PM on January 22, 2008


I assume they have no one else to ask

They probably have plenty of people to ask, just no one they want to see screwed over when the guy jumps bail. If you sign it, you'll be their fall guy...
posted by wfrgms at 2:08 PM on January 22, 2008


#*%@ no.
posted by jjb at 4:34 PM on January 22, 2008


I sense a consensus. . .
posted by megatherium at 4:44 PM on January 22, 2008


Haven't you ever seen "Dog: The Bounty Hunter?"

That guy could be at your door.

Think about it.
posted by drstein at 7:00 AM on January 24, 2008


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