We’ve had this question come in several times. Where a person covers the bail payment as a loan to bail out a friend. That “friend” never pays you back and you’re left holding any additional payments if that person skips. So what to do if your friend, the defendant, doesn’t pay you the bail bond money back?
Getting your bail bond money back from a “friend”
This happens hundreds of times a day, it’s when friends sucker friends and will say anything to get out of jail. If you’re a cosignor you pony up the cash to get your friend or relative out of jail. Normally the defendant doesn’t have the cash on hand and a bondsman will often want a cosignor (indemnitor) to sign on the the bond. This ensures that the defendant will make court appearances and do their check-ins. It helps having someone else manage the defendant; someone who will make sure they get their collateral returned. But, getting your bail bond money back is probably not going to happen…
I went a couple days ago and posted a $100 bond to get a friend of mine out of jail in “UNNAMED CITY”. She promised me the money back the very next morning. She still hasn’t paid me and I need my money. What steps do I need to take in order to revoke her bond and get my money back. Please help me! Thank you!
Here’s the issue; you gave the bondsman the money to pay the premium to get the defendant out of jail. That person promised to pay you back… and that hasn’t happened. The bitter part is there’s almost nothing you can do about getting that money returned to you. The money you paid the bondsman is a fee, that money is never returned, regardless if the person goes to all their court appointments.
Consider that bail money (loan) is gone…
If you loaned your friend money by paying a bondsman, you can’t revoke the bail based on the fact you weren’t repaid (that is illegal and a good bondsman won’t do it). The only way you can get paid back if the person refuses to give you your cash is to take the person to small claims court. But, think about it; if this person is in jail, there’s no way they can earn any money to pay you. If they are on the run, you know you aren’t getting paid.
Understand that while feeling bad about your situation, the bondsman, by law, cannot revoke the bond and throw your friend in jail because you weren’t paid back. It’s illegal and they could lose their license. Non-payment of a bond or remainder of a bond happens to bondsmen all the time. It’s the chance a bail bonds company takes when they write a bond and receive payments.
Am I still liable for any additional bond payments
If your friend runs off (skips), you could be if that $100 was a portion of the bail payment. Some bondsmen take payments and who better to give them cash than the cosignor. Someone who is responsible, has a job, and no looming jail/prison time?
How to stop any additional fees being paid
If you believe your “friend” the defendant is going to skip town and the bondsman understands this may be true, they may opt to revoke the bond. This doesn’t let you off the hook if there is a balance owing on the bond. But it will stop any additional fees a bondsman may charge; ie: if they have to hire a bounty hunter to hunt your friend down and bring them back to jail.
All in all, you’re a great friend. Just be sure you’re posting bond for someone you KNOW is a good friend and that their legal predicament doesn’t hang you up for months. Keeping in mind that a court case can go on for some time – you’re on the hook as long as they are on the bond. Trust in your heart that the friend you bond out has every intention of paying you back and maybe check to see how they’re going to do so. Whether it’s selling their jewelry, TV or car, they have to have a way to pay you back.
We know this isn’t what you wanted to hear about getting bond money back, but hopefully it will give you insight the next time a buddy wants bail money. Like with any other loan to a friend or family member, loan that cash with the idea it’s never coming back.
Before you loan cash for bail, take a really good look at your friend and their situation, in jail and out. What caused them to be in jail in the first place? Do they have the money stashed away? Are they getting the cash to pay you bail bond money back from someone else that “owes” them? If someone else owes them money, can that person give you the cash right now, or even bond them out? Ask yourself these questions before putting your name on a bail bonds application.