Q: My 21 year-old cousin was arrested last night after he got in some sort of bar fight and he just called asking if I could help get him out of jail. His bail has been set at $30,000. We want to try to handle this without involving his parents so I’m wondering if I’ll be able to cosign by myself. I’m 19 and I have a steady job.
A: A reputable bail bonds company would never let a 19 year-old cosign for bail bonds on their own. When you cosign for bail bonds, you’re taking responsibility for two things. First that the bail bonds fee (in this case, $3,000) will be paid. Second, you’re taking full legal responsibility that your cousin will go to court as often as needed to finish their case. If he skips and the bondsman can’t get them back before a judge, you could find yourself on the hook for $30,000. Ultimately, a reputable bondsman should underwrite any bail bond as if they were underwriting a loan. Banks will not lend $30,000 to someone who doesn’t have good credit with a very established credit history. A reputable California bail bonds company will have the same requirements. If you’re worried about getting his or your parents involved, there are ways to work around that. If you have older siblings, cousins or other aunts or uncles who are willing to help, you may not be required to have a parent cosign.
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