How To Become A Bail Bondsman
There are a lot of unique and uncommon jobs in America that not many people think of when they look at career options. Despite that, some of these occupations play an important role in maintaining the way of life many Americans take for granted. Without people collecting the garbage on a weekly basis, cities would be medically unsafe. Without plumbers, the water for survival and cleanliness we take for granted would be in short supply. And without bail bondsman, the law and order that we rely on to maintain a safe, reliable legal system would begin to break down.
We are offering you a very different kind of opportunity. As a bail agent, or bondsman, you can be a part of the infrastructure that ensures an orderly society. You’re not a member of the police force, and you’re not a lawyer, but you still occupy an important role. Here’s what it really means to take on this unusual, rewarding career.
What Is A Bail Bondsman?
An agent, or bail bondsman is a licensed, certified professional that enters into the legal equation after a crime has been committed, an arrest made, and charges filed. You may be familiar with the concept of bail being posted for someone accused of committing a crime. Bail is money that is given to the court which, once paid, allows the accused to continue living a normal life, outside of jail until the day of trial in court arrives. This is not a “fee” in the sense that it is a transaction conducted between the court and the accused. Instead, it’s closer to a “loan” to the court, where, upon the day of trial, the amount posted is then returned to whomever it was that actually paid the bail.
This is where the bail bondsman comes in:
There are actually a few different duties and responsibilities that are involved in becoming a bail bondsman, and some choose to specialize in just one or two areas, while other people prefer to engage in every discipline. The one thing that they all have in common however, is that the bail bondsman is in some way, shape or form, responsible for ensuring that bail is paid and the accused faces trial. In some extraordinary cases, if bail is broken, the bondsman may need to pursue the accused, or have someone else do it. If the accused does not show up for trial, the bond paid is forfeited, and the court keeps it.
Becoming a bail bondsman is not like typical job that merely requires an application and a good resume. This is a serious career and it means being evaluated, licensed and certified by the state. Depending on which state you are in, there will be slightly different requirements, but the one common area is that you will need to pass an evaluation, be issued a license, and then conduct yourself in a professional manner.
So how do you go about becoming a bail bondsman? It varies from one state to the next, but we’ll cover three states here specifically: North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
How To Become A Bail Bondsman In North Carolina
Becoming a bail bondsman in North Carolina requires that you be an adult resident, with no bail bond of your own, no criminal convictions, and no current employment ties to the North Carolina police or legal system. If you meet these initial requirements, you must take a pre-licensing course, take and pass an exam, then have your fingerprints registered.
Once you’ve met all these requirements, you can get an initial license which will allow you to “apprentice” yourself to an experienced, practicing bail bondsman for one year. At the end of that year, you may then apply for your professional bondsman license, and go into business for yourself.
How To Become A Bail Bondsman In South Carolina
Becoming a bail bondsman in South Carolina is slightly easier than in North Carolina. You still need to be an adult resident with no felony convictions. You will also need to attend a pre-licensing course that will give you all the training and background information necessary for beginning this career.
Once you’ve completed the course, you must pass an exam, and, upon passing, you have one year to get your bail bondsman license. Failure to apply within one year means you will need to take the test again in order to get a license. Upon getting your license, you’re done. There is no initial license followed by a full, professional license.
How To Become A Bail Bondsman In Virginia
The Virginia procedure is similar to the South Carolina procedure. You need to meet the initial resident criteria, including being in good standing with the law. You need to take the pre-licensing course and, upon completion of your studies take and pass an exam. Once you’ve passed the exam, you may apply for your license and begin your career practicing as a bail bondsman, with a fee paid to periodically renew your license.
Different Career Tracks
Not all bondsman do the same things, though some may choose to undertake more than one specialty. Surety bondsman, for example, works more closely with the financial side of things, often with insurance companies, to arrange the financing for bail. A property bail bondsman, on the other hand, may use cash, real estate, or other actual assets to post bond. An agent bail bondsman acts on behalf of another bail bondsman—usually a property bail bondsman—to collect and enforce cash, property or other assets that are being used in posting bail.
In event that someone breaks a court date, this is when it is time to employ the services of a Runner Bondsman. Runner bondsman are more popularly known as bounty hunters, but this is an understandably different skill set and discipline from what a typical bail bondsman does.
If you’d like to know more about becoming a bail bondsman in your state, contact us today and learn how.