What is my legal obligations regarding the payment of someone else’s bail?

UPDATED: Sep 17, 2012

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What is my legal obligations regarding the payment of someone else’s bail?

I signed for my niece’s bail but only put up 1% of the 10%. When she got out, she signed that she would pay the balance. She stopped paying and now they are contacting me. She’s already been to court so that’s not an issue, it’s just the remaining balance.

Asked on September 17, 2012 under Criminal Law, Maryland


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A bail bond is a contract between the bondsman, the state, the defendant, and sometimes an indemnitor.  An indemnitor is like a co-signer.  Like any contract, your rights, duties, or protections are outlined in that agreement.  If you don't have a copy of everything that you signed, you need to request a copy before you do anything.  If you did not sign anything that made you a co-signer, then you have no obligation to pay any future bail amounts.  If you did sign part of the agreement and it says that you agreed to assume payments in her default, then you would be contractually liable to pay the balance. 

The bonding company may just be trying to squeeze a little money out of the person they think has money-- so request documentation before you make any more payments.  Also call your neice and nag her to take care of her payments.

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