Rule 531. Qualifications of Surety.
(A) Subject to any additional requirements prescribed by local rule of court, the following shall be qualified to act as sureties:
(1) owners of cash or securities as provided in Rule 528;
(2) owners of realty located in the Commonwealth as provided in Rule 528(D)(3), or owners of realty located outside the Commonwealth but within the United States as provided in Rule 528(D)(4), provided that satisfactory evidence of ownership or special approval of the court is obtained;
(3) surety companies approved by the court and authorized to do business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;
(4) professional bondsmen licensed under the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. § § 57415750;
(5) for percentage cash bail only, the defendant or any private individual or organization.
(B) No attorney, or spouse or employee of any attorney, shall be permitted to become a surety for a client of the attorney or for a client of the attorneys office.
(C) No sheriff, employee of a sheriff, tipstaff, other employee, or official of the courts or issuing authorities of any judicial district shall be permitted to become a surety unless the defendant is a member of that persons immediate family.
(D) No person who is named in any current official list of undesirable bondsmen shall be permitted to become a surety in any case.
Paragraph (A)(2) is intended to require that ownership of realty anywhere within the Commonwealth qualifies a person to act as a surety in any judicial district in the Commonwealth. Local procedure may not require as an additional requirement that realty must be located within the county before it may be posted to satisfy a monetary condition of release.
Bail bondsman, as defined in the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. § § 57415750, includes a person who engages in the business of giving bail as a surety for compensation. See 42 Pa.C.S. § 5741.
Surety, as defined in the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. § § 57415750, includes a person who pledges security, whether or not for compensation, in exchange for the release from custody of a person charged with a crime prior to adjudication. See 42 Pa.C.S. § 5741.
Under paragraph (A)(5), either the defendant or another person, such as a relative or neighbor, may deposit the percentage cash bail. If the defendant deposits the money, he or she signs the bond, thereby becoming a surety and liable for the full amount of the monetary condition if a condition of the bail bond is violated. If someone other than the defendant deposits the money and co-signs the bond with the defendant, that person becomes a surety for the defendant and is liable for the full amount of the monetary condition if a condition of the bail bond is violated. There may be cases in which the other person does not co-sign the bond, but merely deposits the money on behalf of the defendant. In such cases, that person would not be a surety and would not be liable for the full amount of the monetary condition.
Paragraph (B) is not intended to preclude an attorney, or the spouse or employee of an attorney, from being a surety as long as the defendant is not the attorneys client or a client of the attorneys office.
Immediate family, as used in paragraph (C), is intended to include only grandparents, parents, spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren, stepchildren, and like relatives-in-law.
Former Rule 4011 adopted July 23, 1973, effective 60 days hence; rescinded September 13, 1995, effective January 1, 1996, and replaced by Rule 534. Present Rule 4011 adopted September 13, 1995, effective January 1, 1996. The January 1, 1996 effective dates extended to April 1, 1996; the April 1, 1996 effective dates extended to July 1, 1996; renumbered Rule 531 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; amended May 2, 2017, effective July 1, 2017.
Committee Explanatory Reports:
Final Report explaining the provisions of the new rule published with Courts Order at 25 Pa.B. 4116 (September 30, 1995).
Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Courts Order at 30 Pa.B. 1478 (March 18, 2000).
Final Report explaining the May 2, 2017 amendment regarding the statutory definition of surety published with the Courts Order at 47 Pa.B. 2872 (May 20, 2017).
The provisions of this Rule 531 amended May 2, 2017, effective July 1, 2017, 47 Pa.B. 2871. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (383602) and (376055) to (376056).
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