Early one morning your phone rings and it's a lawyer calling from Court. A friend of yours was arrested the night before and the lawyer is asking whether you can come down right now and help bail out your friend. The lawyer asks you to be surety.
What does this all mean? What should you do?
The first thing is to consider your answer very carefully. If you are a surety that means you are responsible to control your friend's conduct and make sure your friend follows any and all terms of release.
Your duties as surety are significant and your responsibility as a surety continues until the case is completely over. In some cases, this may take a long time.
As surety you must:
Make sure your friend comes to court on time and on the right dates.
Make sure that your friend obeys each condition of the bail order, also known as a recognizance.
Conditions may require your friend to report to the police and obey a curfew. They may also order your friend to not possess weapons, drink alcohol and/or communicate directly or indirectly with the complainant or the complainant's family.
If you fail in your duties you may lose a specified sum of money.
It's a significant responsibility and one to consider carefully before accepting. You will be doing your friend a great service but it's not a small step.