There are many factors that come into play, when one is considering to become a bail bondsman. To start working as one, you need to know the working of the legal system in its intricate detail.
A bail bondsman is an individual or a firm, that can arrange bail for a person indicted of some crime. When an individual gets bail, a certain fee needs to be paid and the credibility of the person arranging the bail is put on the line. In this process, you are effectively putting your cash, assets, and credibility on the line, in order to get bail for a person, or a group of people. To start working in this field, proper understanding of the legal system and its various aspects is very essential. Let us understand the job profile, salary, and the process to become a bail bondsman.
What does he do?
Simply put, he is someone who gets an indicted party a bail. It is this agent, who finally signs the bond for the bail of a particular defendant. Once the defendant has appeared in front of a judge and the amount of bail has been set, he can contact a bail bondsman to arrange things to grant him bail. It is the reputation and of course the license as well, that enables him to provide the bail to the defendant, while also providing legal advice.
How to become one?
To become one, you need a license. The proper channels of obtaining this license must be followed at all times, and only after the procedure has been completed, you can start to work. Each state has its own Department of Insurance office, and it is here that the license must be submitted. The forms are available here and they must be procured from here alone.
The requirements are set by this office and they must be complied with at all costs. There are many educational qualifications that you will have to fulfill, and there are many other things that authorities take into consideration as well. Becoming a bail bondsman is not an easy task by any means, and not everyone is cut out for it. Understanding of the various crimes is a necessity, and you must also remember that, one has to deal with criminals and people accused of crimes. So it is not exactly a desk job.
The bail bond class license is also known as the Limited Surety Agent’s License, and you need to ask your state’s insurance department about the schools in your area for gaining this license. At the schools, you will find instructors who will give you more details and eligibility criteria. Before you set out for the license, find out if your state even allows commercial bail, as this option is not available in every state. Talking to the sheriffs and the police department of your locality is also a good idea to get more information about the job requirements.
The primary source of revenue is the defendant himself. The money paid by the bondsman for the bail is obviously retrieved from the defendant, but 10% – 15% of the bail amount is charged by the bondsman and this is a part of the income earned by him apart from any legal advice fees. In some cases a greater amount can be demanded as a collateral, in case the defendant does a vanishing act before the next hearing.
There is a lot of competition in this field though, and the average earnings can vary from $25,000 to about $100,000 per annum. However, it depends on the state you work in, your reputation, and of ‘course the kind of cases you handle. There are more than 15,000 people working in this field in the US.
These professionals are required in many states and they form an important component of the legal system. They are a vital cog in the legal machinery, but like any other profession, they have their pros and cons too.