Getting arrested for a crime can be a harrowing experience, not only for the accused but also his family members. Getting help of a bail bond agent is often the best thing you can do to facilitate quick release of a detained person close to you. Read and know all about bail bond agents, how they work and how you can enlist their services.
Who are Bail Bond Agents?
The term refers to any individual or organization that acts as a surety for an accused. The person or institution pledges a sum of money or property as guarantee for the fact that the arrested person or persons will appear in court for trial. The bail bond agent arranges the release of the accused defendant with the court. In return for its services to fix bail for the accused, the agency charges a fee.
Bail Bond Agents are also known by various other names, such as
- Bail Bond Recovery Agents
- Surety Agent
- Bounty Hunter
Types of Bail Bond Agents
There are two types of bail bond agents:
Professional bail agents
They work for professional bonding companies and usually charge around 5% of the bail amount as fee, especially in states like Pennsylvania. In most states, agents can collect as much as 10% of the total amount. Professional agents must hold a license for each county that they work in.
Surety bail agents
These bondsmen work for surety companies which are similar to insurance companies in the sense that they insure bails. A surety agent enjoys more benefits than a professional agent as they are authorized to work in all the states and counties of the United States.
Why Bail Bond Agents Are Needed?
The bail amount set by a court is often too high to pay for an American who has been arrested as a suspect for a crime. The amount could be too high to pay for an average American. Earlier, many people had to pawn their precious belongings or mortgage their homes to secure the release of their loved ones. Bail Bond Agents have simplified the process. If you are willing to give the bail amount but do not have the means to pay off, you may choose to work with bail bond agents. All you have to do is pay a percent of the total bail money to the agency. The agency will pay the remaining amount to enforce the bail bond and make sure that the accused appears in court. Unless the bond is presented as a surety to a court of law, the defendant would be kept in jail until trial.
How Do Bail Bond Agents Work?
Bail Bond Agents have pre-arranged contractual agreements with the courts in the state and county which they enter into business with. As per these arrangements, the bail bondsman is allowed to post a “blanket” bond to the court. The sum of money that is posted is substantially less than the original bail amount set by the court. In actuality, the bail bond agent acts as a surety for the defendant’s return to the court on time. It agrees to be held responsible for making damages to the court for the entire amount of the original bail.
If an accused individual escapes trial, the bail bondsman will have to find and make him appear before the court to collect the full bail amount or obtain the monetary award for bringing the accused back to court. An arrested person who tries to escape appearing before court is called a “Bail Jumper”.
How Do Bail Bond Agents Make Money?
Bail bondsmen usually make money if they pay bail amount for individuals with low flight risks. They take the 10 percent fee from the accused or any of his well-wishers. When the case gets over, bail agents get their money back and earn the 10 percent fee that was previously paid to them. Thus, if they bail out 10 defendants in a week, they can earn as much as $50,000 if the total bail amount equals to $50,000 and they charge $5,000 for each person.
Bail bondsmen also ask for a tangible asset that they can forfeit if the individual they bail fail to appear for trial. If the accused fail to turn up on their appointed court date, they can sell the property to recoup the bail amount that they paid. They can also use any extra money that they get from selling the asset.
A good agent having a good system of work can make a lot of money whereas an agent with a bad system can get broke and be forced to look for another career.
How to Start a Bail Bond Agency?
Initiating a bail bond agency requires you to hold a license. For this, you have to complete bail bond agency education. Some states need you to go through a pre-licensing course. You can contact the department of insurance of your state to know whether your state has a requirement for pre-licensing course.
Many bail bond training schools as well as technical colleges offer agent training programs. The programs are generally in accordance with the specific training requirements of the state. The curriculum involves classes on:
- Fugitive recovery techniques
- Legal issues
- Comprehending prisoners
- Transporting prisoners
- Employment details
Instructors for such classes typically include private investigators or experienced bail bond agents who teach fresher bondsmen how to work with sheriff, police and criminal defense attorneys.
Try to get a business license from the city that you reside in. Bail bond agencies need to have a business license in all the states of the country. You have to visit the city hall department to pay the required fees and apply for the license. Generally, the fee is about $50. Once you apply the fee and apply for the license, you have to wait for a couple of weeks which is the time taken for the materials to process. There are various requirements regarding education and examinations for a license, which vary from state to state. Once you determine the form of education that you need, you can detect a local school that offer classes on that type of bail bond.
Regularly go though the bail bond laws prevalent in your state. Every state has its own set of rules that dictate the amount that these agencies can charge as also detailing court procedures. Some states, such as Oregon, Illinois, Wisconsin and Kentucky, do not have any commercial bail. Some states do not recognize bail bondsmen or allow them to work. Some states may not need bail bond agents to be backed by an insurance company if they have enough money on their own.
Form relationships with the clerks of your local court. Some court clerks have a list of esteemed bail bond agencies in the city. You have to contact your local court system to understand how you can get your name on the agency list. You may have to furnish proof of being an agent licensed with the state.
Lastly, marketing is essential for your agency. You may consider placing ads in community newspapers or online advertising websites like CraigsList. Placing a Yellow Pages ad can also be useful. You may also create a site that allows potential clients to know more about your agency.
Getting Help from Bail Bond Agents
If someone close to you is arrested, you can immediately call up a bail bondsman. Contact a reputed bail bond agency and provide them with all the necessary information. Generally bail bond agencies provide consultation services and vital information for free.
Bail bondsmen make sure that you get to know your rights for free. The agency asks for a bail posting fee. This is equal to 10% of the entire bail bond amount. For example, if the total bail amount is $1000 the fee to post bail becomes $100. The fee can be paid by check, cash or credit.
Paying any other fee depends on the total amount of collateral that has to be paid to insure that the accused will show up for trial after being granted bail. All the collateral is given back after the defendant turns up at the court on the appointed date.
In old days, things like homes, cars, cash or the monetary ability were used as collateral to ensure total payment of the bail in case the defendant jumped bail.
Once the accused is found to be qualified to be granted release, bondsmen post bail and ensure discharge of the accused. Posting bail can be completed within a few minutes. The release of the defendant depends on the release times of the jail that he or she is kept in. It also depends on the type of case. Bail bondsmen also notify you about the release time of your loved one.
This is the basic process of bail and subsequent release.
How to Find a Good Bail Bond Agency?
Finding a good bail bondsman can be tough. There are some companies that provide below-par services and then there are others that shine with free information, an effective customer service and an eagerness to help. Here are a few tips to help you get in touch with a good bail bond agency.
- Look for a reputable bail agent. You may contact any of your friends who have some knowledge in legal issues and ask about the contact number of a good bail agent. If you do not know such a person, an internet search can be the next best thing. Go online and make a search for reputed bail bond agencies near your locality. Browse through the reviews of the company to get a better understanding of the type of services that you can expect.
- Contact an agency that has got good reviews. Make sure that the bail bond company you choose is there at the list of the Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau allots letter grades to various business houses. This allows you to check the standing that a company has in the industry.
- Tell the officials about your relationship to the accused and what the nature of the case is. Make honest answers to all the questions asked by the agents who have to prepare a report.
- Ask anything that you want to know about the case. Bail agents should provide you with free information and consultation services. Check whether the agents behave well, are helpful enough and readily share information with you. All these will help you get an exact idea about the services that you can expect from the agency.
- Check whether the agency has a good customer service. If you are expecting an arrest, you require a company that provides 24X7 services. An arrest can occur at any time and if the company does not operate full-time, it is best to seek any other agency. It is best to call up the customer service of an agency and check their effectiveness. If they do not value you as a future customer and seem to be either too pushy or laidback, you can move on. A competent customer service will handle all your queries well and guide you about payment and signing promissory notes or agreements. They will possibly also inform you about the release information of your loved one on payment of the bail.
- Check the bail bond fees in the state where the crime has been committed. That way, you can understand whether or not you are overpaying for the services.
Signing a Bond with a Bail Agent
A state-licensed bail bondsman can get your bail amount waived and pay the greater part of it for you. Such agents are usually backed by an insurance company. Here is how you can go about signing a bond with an authorized bail agent.
- Get in touch with a good, reputed bail agent as quickly as possible. The quicker you find one, the faster you can initiate the bail process and get your defendant discharged from jail.
- Provide the agent with all the necessary details about the arrest. Generally, agents have to turn up at the holding facility to know about the nature of the crime. Bail bondsmen must also be informed about the arrest history of the person and whether he or she had “jumped” bail on an earlier occasion.
- Prove that the accused is financially stable. You can do this by showing the nature of job, sound credit history and sufficient assets of the defendant. The company that the agent is associated with has to run a credit check to determine whether the arrested person can submit the bail fee.
- There are cases where a bail bond agent refuses to accept bail due to insufficient funds. If that is the case with your defendant, you should arrange a co-signer who would be partly responsible for the bail costs. The co-signer should be a friend or a family member whom you can trust on.
- Arrange for the payment. Usually, bail bond fees are a percentage of the entire bail amount. Most companies ask you to pay up the total fees up front. You will need to pay via cash or a credit card.
- Sign all necessary documents and release forms. All paperwork related to the actual bond would be handled by the bond agent.
Benefits of Bail Bond Agency
There are numerous benefits associated with seeking the services of a bail bond agency:
- A bail bond agency allows you to pay a lower bail amount. The service is economical and lets you save more than you can imagine.
- Paying bail amount out of your own pocket means it could take months or years for you before you can get your money again. Such worries are put to rest with a bail bondsman working for you. All you have to do is pay 10% of the total bail amount and possibly some additional charges. The total expenditure would be much less than the entire amount to bail that you have to pay in actuality.
- With a bail agency, it is easier to get an easy and early release from jail. This ensures good health of the defendant. It also helps him or her avoid contracting physical ailments and stay away from the mental anxiety of being locked up.
- A person freed by a bail bond agency can continue to work, attend to the family and get ready for the court dates.
Bail Bond Agents by State
Here is a list of some of the most reputed bail bonds agencies of some U.S states.
Bail Bond Agents in California
Greg Rynerson Bail Bonds, Inc.
700 S. Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA – 90017
Ph: (213) 452-0503 .
Madonna’s Bail Bonds
234 Marshall Street
Redwood City, CA – 94063
PH: (650) 366-9111 .
Bail Bond Agents in Arizona
Bail Bonds Usa
4419 N. Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ – 85251
PH: (480) 675-8220 .
All Out Bail Bonds
126 S. Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ – 85004
PH: (602) 253-2468 .
Bail Bond Agents in Colorado
1305 Delaware St
Denver, CO – 80204
PH: (303) 534-2245 .
Leadville Bail Bonds
Leadville, CO – 80461
PH: (719) 486-1000 .
Bail Bond Agents in Florida
All American Bail Bonds
332 E Adams St
Jacksonville, FL – 32202
PH: (904) 634-8888
Moncrief Bail Bonds, Inc.
3910 S. John Young Parkway
Orlando, FL – 32839
PH: (407) 423-2000
Bail Bond Agents in Georgia
Anytime Bail Bonding Inc
611 Fourth St
Augusta, GA – 30901
PH: (706) 823-1111
Cohutta Bonding Co
448 N. Thornton Ave
Dalton, GA – 30720
PH: (706) 529-8223
Bail Bond Agents in Kansas
Any Bail Any Jail Any Time
Po Box 992
Topeka, KS – 66606
PH: (785) 539-3950
Associated Bail Bonds
510 North Topeka
Wichita, KS – 67214
PH: (316) 806-5317
Bail Bond Agents in Mississippi
A-Confidential Bail Bonds
2603 17th St
Gulfport, MS – 39501
PH: (228) 871-1700 .
Gulf Bonding Company
1201 22nd Ave.
Suite B – Leland, MS – 39302
PH: (601) 482-4708 .
Bail Bond Agents in New Jersey
All Out Bail Bonds & Insurance
964 Main Street
Paterson, NJ – 07503
PH: (973) 224-5266
Ryans Bail Bonds, Inc.
Newton, NJ – 07860
PH: (973) 383-2844
The longer the time an accused spends in jail, the greater is said to be his or her possibility of staying longer in detention. The amount of bail can go up and it is only rarely that it goes down. When you are not in jail, it is easier to defend yourself in court before a judge. This explains why it is necessary to seek the services of a reputed bail agent if any of your friends or loved ones has been detained.