A common question from people not familiar with bail bonds is what is a Bail Bond indemnitor? and what exactly are their responsibilities?
An indemnitor is someone who in essence becomes a co-signer to a bail bond agreement in order to have someone bailed out of jail. Although it is possible to bail one’s self out of jail in some instances more often than not an inmate will be required to have a third party indemnify or “co-sign” the bail bond.
In Florida, when someone is incarcerated and given bail, let’s say $5,000.00 for example, they then have two choices on how to make the $5,000.00 bail for release. Those two options are Cash Bail or Surety Bail Bond.
Using Cash Bail to bond out of jail is exactly what is sounds like. Someone must travel to the detention center with $5,000.00 in cash to secure the other individual’s release. That money will then be tied up with the court for the duration of the case. If the defendant appears at all their court dates, the court will decide how much in fees to collect from the cash bail. These fees can include court costs, restitution, etc. and can be costly. After the appropriate deductions are completed, the remaining balance will be returned. For example, if $5,000.00 cash bail is posted for someone and several months later, at the end of the defendant’s case the court decides the defendant owes $2,000 in court cost and fees. The $2,000.00 will then be deducted from the $5,000.00 cash bail posted and $3,000.00 would be returned by the court.
The second option to secure the release of an inmate and satisfy the $5,000.00 bail with the court is to contact a Florida licensed Bail Bondsman. When using a Bail Bondsman, in Florida, you will pay a 10% fee of the total bond which would be $500.00 in this case. This 10% fee is set by the State and by law Bondsman cannot charge more or less. Although the 10% service fee I set by the state you may be required to place additional monies in escrow for security or pay a bail bond transfer fee is posting bond in another jurisdiction.
More likely than not, the Bondsman will require the inmate to have an indemnitor or “co-signer” to make bail. The indemnitor will be required to complete paperwork with bondsman affirming the indemnitor understands and is willing to take financial responsibility for the inmate’s appearance in court when released. The Bondsman will then post the full amount of the bail, $5,000.00, with jail on the defendants’ behalf with the indemnitor as a co-signer. Once the inmate is released from custody, the 10% fee to the Bondsman is earned and will not be returned.
The defendant is than free to begin the court legal process from the comfort of home as opposed to going through the court process while incarcerated.
The released defendant will need to personally appear or have legal representation at all court proceeding as required until the case is disposed.
If the inmate later fails to appear in court and does not resolve the issue (by retaining a new court date, posting new bail bond, or being taken into custody) the indemnitor will ultimately be responsible for reimbursing the Bondsman for $5,000.00 in bail he will lose to the court.
This responsibility can not be later be reneged without the consent of the Bail Bondsman.
This system of having a third party involved in the bail bond is extremely effective in ensuring a high appearance rate for bonded individuals and first began in 13th century England.