Can I go to jail if I sign on a bail bond?

People often ask me “If I sign to guarantee payments for a bail bond premium, and at a later date the payments are not made, can the bondsman have me put in jail?” The answer is “no,” because non-payment of a debt in this situation is not a crime. It is very important, however, that you understand that by signing your name on a premium promissory note and then defaulting, you are civilly liable and can be sued in civil court. And if you put up anything of value (a car title, jewelry, cash, etc.) to guarantee the payments, you risk losing that also.

And, if the bonded person takes off and misses court and can’t be found, if you signed to guarantee his appearances in court, you are civilly liable for the full amount of the bond if that bond is forfeited by the judge, and anything put up to guarantee that person’s appearance is now in jeopardy. But again, you cannot be put in jail because of the failure of the bonded person to go to court.