The responsibilities placed on a bail bond co-signer can bear a significant financial burden. If the risk is too high, the bond can be surrendered.
After hiring a bail bond company, a co-signer may have second thoughts about the financial risks of being responsible for the defendant's return for all required court hearings. As long as the defendant hasn’t missed a court date, the co-signer can start the process of surrendering the bail bond. This will include all expenses up to that point, plus the expenses incurred in the course of returning the person to jail.
Surrendering the Bond
To surrender or cancel a bail bond, the co-signer needs to meet with the bail bond company. The company will require documentation to cancel the bond and may ask for the reason behind its surrender. Generally speaking, the primary reasons behind the surrender of most bonds are concerns related to the defendant not showing up for court, as well as the resulting expenses and the cost of the potential forfeiture of the bond.
The paperwork will include the release of any liens placed if property was pledged to secure the bond.
The co-signer then provides the whereabouts of the defendant so the bail bond company can start the process of returning the person to prison.
When surrendering the bond, the co-signer is not obligated to advise the defendant of the situation. However, if advance notice of the surrender is provided, the defendant may be able to minimize the time spent in jail if a second co-signer can be found to pay fees and sign a new contract. Without a warning, the defendant will have to start from scratch in terms of getting a new co-signer to secure a bond and get out of jail.
The Defendant's Return to Jail
To complete the surrender of the bail bond, the company must return the defendant to jail. If the defendant is located and voluntarily surrenders, the bail bond company documents the cancellation of the bond with the court. As long as no court dates have been missed, the person will not face charges for skipping bail and the forfeiture of the bonded to the court is avoided. With the defendant's return to jail, the bail bond is surrendered and any related liens are vacated.
Consequences of the Surrender
The co-signer is responsible for all expenses related to the surrender of the bail bond, including bringing the defendant back to jail, as well as all court and processing fees. The original fee paid to the bail bond company is considered as a payment for the services rendered for getting the person out of jail. Once the person has been released, that fee becomes non-refundable.