It’s an unfortunate fact that people don’t always have cash on hand to pay bail. That’s where bail bonds come into play. They’re a solution to the problem, but they add a few complications of their own. One complication is the addition of an indemnitor to the equation. What is an indemnitor? What do they do? All of your questions are about to be answered.
A Quick Definition
An indemnitor is a cosigner for a bail bond. An indemnitor assumes legal responsibility for the bond contract. On the surface, it’s a simple role, but there are some underlying details and interactions that shed more light on how this whole thing works.
As an indemnitor, your obligations come in two categories: legal and financial.
Your financial obligations are tied to the bond. You are assuming full financial responsibility for the whole bond. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bond agent will lose the money they provided for the bail. When you sign as an indemnitor, you agree to reimburse all of that money, along with any additional fees.
Legally, your job is straightforward. You are committing to ensure that the defendant makes their court appearances. As long as the defendant appears when required, the bond will be refunded to the bail agent. That will keep you from being on the hook for that money.
If the defendant fails to appear, you will be legally responsible for their absence. Typically, this means you may be charged court or legal fees as a consequence of their failure to appear in court. In extreme cases, you may be subject to criminal penalties.
When the case is resolved, your responsibilities as an indemnitor conclude, provided the bond contract is fulfilled. In other words, you’re no longer responsible for the defendant, but you will still be financially responsible for the bond premium.
Is an Indemnitor Necessary?
An indemnitor is not required for all bail bonds and court cases. Typically, the indemnitor will be necessary when the defendant is not financially solvent. If the bail bond agent doesn’t believe the defendant can pay the bond fees, they’ll require a cosigner. It’s similar to any other financial contract. The person risking their money wants some assurances that they won’t get the short end of the stick. The cosigner adds security to the transaction, and that makes it much easier to secure the bail bond.
It’s important to understand that the legal process can continue without paying bail. The unpleasant consequence is that the defendant will remain in jail until the proceedings are concluded, but a failure to post bail is not an admission of guilt. So, on a technical level, an indemnitor is never necessary. Of course, posting bail is usually the better option, and it is at the discretion of the bond agent to determine whether or not an indemnitor is a necessity.
The Bond Process Simplified
Bail bonds exist for people who do not have the cash on hand to satisfy a bail requirement. The bail bond is a loan, but instead of paying interest and installments, you pay a flat fee, and the bond agent handles paying the court. The entire purpose is to aid people who won’t be able to post bail otherwise.
The indemnitor is just an assurance for the lender to make sure they don’t get burned. If the defendant shows up to court and the bond premium is paid, there are no extra issues or complications with this process. The indemnitor’s obligations are fulfilled, and that’s the end of it.
It can all feel technical and complicated, but here’s the bottom line. If a defendant can’t pay bail, they need a bond to get out of jail. If they can’t pay the bond fee up front, the bond agent will probably want a cosigner — an indemnitor. Because this process involves bail bonds, the responsibilities of the cosigner are more than what they would be on a traditional loan. Still, when the contract is satisfied, there’s nothing else to worry about.
If you’re in need of a bail bond, you can get help from A Right Choice Bail Bonds. You may end up serving as an indemnitor, but you can be assured that you will understand your role in the process before money changes hands.