A bail bondsman is an agent for a criminal suspect in the court who arranges for the payment of the bail by pledging cash or assets and standing as a guarantee for the convicted. In short, a bail bondsman is a manager for the person who has been arrested, has appeared in front of the judge, and gets the bail amount fixed. To hire a bail bondsman, the arrested party calls a bail bondsman who in turn charges a certain percentage, generally 10-15%, of the total bail amount set by the judge, and ensures that the convicted will be released by the next court appearance. Since a bail bondsman is required to deal with accusations and meetings with judges, he is supposed to undergo appropriate training to familiarize himself with the various kinds of crimes. Though the job of a bail bondsman seems to be easy and high salaried, it requires great amount of physical and psychological fitness and hence, is not suitable for all kinds of people.
Becoming A Bail Bondsman
To become a bail bondsman, one should be at least 18 years of age and be a licensed resident of the state with a high school diploma or equivalent. Further, one should have a clear record with no charges of a felony, fraud, or any other punishable crime. Get your fingerprints recorded with the local authorities and complete all other formalities required. After you complete the correspondence courses and internship, you are eligible for appearing in the final examination. Request for the exam schedule from the Department of Insurance and clear the exam. Thereafter, you will be appointed as a licensed bail bondsman by your state authority.
Contact your local Department of Insurance to check out the courses required to qualify for a bail bondsman. Ask for a list of schools in your state and nearby locations offering bail bond class license, also known as a Limited Surety Agent’s License.
Once you have taken admission in a school, you will be provided classroom training and insurance training. Apart from clearing the classroom instructions with a minimum passing grade of 80% or more, you have to complete self-defense and arrest procedures also. You will then undergo a correspondence course on insurance and bonds. Make sure that you complete 120 hours of classroom training and insurance correspondence course before applying for a temporary bail bondsman license, also known as Agency Producer Application. Attach an insurance qualification certificate and an attested affidavit certificate displaying your moral character.
The job of a bail bondsman is an on-call job, which means, that he can be called to the court or by the client even during non-business hours, on weekends, and on holidays. As such, a bail bondsman does not follow a traditional nine-to-five schedule as he is likely to be contacted in the wee hours of morning or anytime round the week. A bail bondsman is required to be bold, brave, and optimistic so that he is able to convince his clients as well as the judge. Also, a bail bondsman generally gets fluctuating income as he is not an employee of a company or organization. Depending upon the business, the income varies and can even turn into financial difficulties when the clients do not turn up or walk away very successfully.
Roles & Responsibilities
A bail bondsman should be prepared to complete a lot of paper work, including the application form from the defendant, which is later managed by the court and is used in the management of finances. All finances related to the defendant should be managed by a bail bondsman. These finances can comprise of collecting money, paying the court, and depositing fees in the company’s bank account. Besides, he is responsible for making the full payment of the criminal’s defendant bond to the court. However, with every acceptance of a bail agreement, the bail bondsman has the risk of the defendant running from their court hearing or trail. As such, a bail bondsman should attain his insurance since in the absence of clients appearing in courts, he has to make the full payment asked by the judge within a certain period of time. He is also required to check the criminal background of the defendant, lest he is likely to stay absent from court hearings. He should get a lien assigned by the family of the defendant to their personal properties if the defendant misses any court date. These items to secure a bond can include land, house, jewelry, and vehicles. In case the defendant does not return to court, a bail bondsman should locate the fugitive so that the bail jumper can be produced before court and the fees can be collected.
After obtaining the necessary courses and licenses to become a bail bondsman, start looking for a job in your state. You can either start your own business or look for a professional and established bail bonding company. While working under an experienced bail bondsman, you will learn how to work with clients and gain the requisite experience before you venture your own business. Plus, while working under a licensed agent, you can save money for your future and new business. Criminals and clients who are unable to find lawyers to fight for them can seek help from a bail bondsman. The amount paid by the defendant serves as the primary source of revenue for a bail bondsman. He charges around 10-15% of the bail amount from each of his clients. Though there is not much growth opportunity for a bail bondsman, but it sure is a job for people who wish to do something different and challenging. Every state and country requires a bail bondsman to manage all kinds of cases.
With every country following a legal mechanism, bail bondsmen are an essential cog in the legal system machinery. Apart from acting as an agent of the suspect, a bail bondsman tries to provide monetary compensation to the court, guaranteeing that the defendant will return to court. Though challenging and tough, a bail bondsman is surely a well-paid job. Good luck!