What to do if a bail bondsman is requiring payment of full bail after agreeing to payment plan of 10%?

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What to do if a bail bondsman is requiring payment of full bail after agreeing to payment plan of 10%?

My fiance was arrested for driving with a suspended license and a friend bonded him out. Agreement was made that my fiance would pay $125 per week until the 10% of total bond amount was paid. He made 2 payments then lost his job. After a few weeks he was able to pay $75 and then took plea to do 5 months in jail. Friend that signed the bond then paid $125 payment and bondsman agreed to stick with the payment plan. The next week, the friend received a letter stating that he owed $3000 in full by next week. This cannot possibly be legal. Please help me and tell me what to do. None of us has $3000.

Asked on April 23, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You might not have recourse. First, your fiance violated the agreement to pay over time--you say that he couldn't pay for several weeks, then only paid less than the agreed-upon amount. His breach means that the bail bondsman no longer had to honor that agreement.

It *may* be the case that the bail bondsman then formed a new agreement with the friend, but that depends on the circumstances--was there a firm offer by the bail bondsman? (And if there was, can you, as a practical matter, *prove* that there was a firm offer, if not in writing?) If there was a firm offer, did the friend then accept it and abide by its terms?

Basically, the original deal is out the window because of your fiance's nonpayment (even if it's for an understandable reason--losing a job--once you violate the payment terms, the other party no longer has to honor them). If the bail bondsman and the friend formed an agreement, including an offer which was then accepted and fully complied with, if you can prove the existence and terms of that agreement, you may be able to enforce it. On the other hand, if the friend simply offered or tendered $125 but the bondsman never indicated, he'd offer the friend the deal--it was just a unilateral offer of $125, in hopes a deal would be formed--then there may not be any enforceable agreement.


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