A bail bond agent is an agency, a person, or corporation that pledges property or money as bail and acts as surety for a defendant who is supposed to appear in court. Now since many people are not able to bail themselves out due to financial constraints, to be released, they may contract a bail bond agent to come in as the surety.
The agent will now post the bail after they have received a non-refundable fee, which is usually raised by the defendant’s friends or family. In any case, the defendant still fails to remit the payment in cash; the agent can reward themselves with other collateral like securities, electronics, and jewelry.
After all this, the agent will agree to pay any amount remaining to the court in case the defendant does not appear. Understanding how these agents operate is crucial as it will assist you in making informed decisions upon arrest. Below are some of the essential points to understand.
There are more than 14,000 bail bond agents operational in the US. The majority of the states will require every agent to be licensed before they can operate on US soil. However, the license does not need to be for bonding purposes but can be for casualty and property insurance. To acquire this license, the applying agent needs to meet specific educational requirements.
The defendant is responsible for the agent’s fee while the agent remunerates the premium to the insurance company. The bond agent becomes fully accountable in clearing the bond payment if the defendant does not appear in court and can’t be traced. Several bond dealers make arrangements with courts, whereby they have to post a bond known as a blanket bond.
This bond will now disable the agent from depositing any property or cash to the court in case they have a new client. That technically means that if any of the agent’s clients fail to appear in court, the bond will pay the court.
How these agents will ensure you appear in court
To make sure the defendant does not fail to show up during trials at the court proceedings, the bail bond agent could ask the defendant to be checking in using their phone at regular times or just some monitoring in some way. For the defendants who are most likely to run, the agent may have to place a guard to watch the defendant’s every move.
In case the defendant fails to show up during trials, the court will be obliged to give out a bench warrant. In that case, the court will forfeit the defendant’s bail. The bail bond agent will now be tasked with hiring a bounty hunter to bring in the defendant, and in exchange, they will receive a certain percentage from the bail that was remitted to the court.
Limitations of bail bond agents
Some states have banned the practice of bonding for profit, such as Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Kentucky. Here the defendant is allowed by the court to produce 10 percent of the total amount asked as bail. Other jurisdictions will only allow commercial bail on limited grounds such as Nebraska and Maine.