If a family member or friend has been charged with a crime, they may ask you to be their “surety”. A surety is someone who makes an agreement with the Court to take responsibility for an accused. You can think of a surety as a “jail guard”, but in the community. In exchange for your agreement to watch over the accused, the Court agrees to release the accused from custody. Responsibilities of a surety include making sure that the accused attends court dates, and ensuring that the accused complies with the conditions of their bail order.
Additionally, sureties become financially liable for the accused’s actions once they sign the agreement with the Court (called a recognizance). If the accused fails to comply with the conditions of their bail order, you may be ordered to pay money to the Court.
In determining whether you are a suitable surety, the judge will consider your financial situation and your background, including your own criminal history (if any), and your relationship with the accused. You may even have to answer some questions during a bail hearing about what qualifies you to be a surety.
This can be an intimidating process, especially if you have never been involved in the courts yourself. DeMelo Law can assist in helping you understand your rights and responsibilities. Has a friend or family member been charged? Have them contact Cassandra at DeMelo Law for a free consultation.