A bail bondsman lends out bail money to defendants in exchange for a percentage of the bail amount. Bail bondsmen can work independently as pro bondsmen or as surety bondsmen with the backing of an insurance company.
The process to becoming a bail bondsman is different according to each state. In most states, you will need to complete training classes and pass a licensing exam.
Here is the essential guide to becoming a bail bondsman:
- Research Your Requirements
Some states, such as Oregon and Illinois, do not allow commercial bail bonds. Some states, such as Pennsylvania require no educational requirement but request that all candidates have an understanding of state laws. You will also likely have to undergo a criminal background and credit history check.
Several states require a minimum of 12 hours of education and training before candidates proceed to take their licensing exam. Training covers insurance guidelines and exams are administered by the insurance department typically.
- Obtain a License
Be aware that not all states require licensure. Getting licensure may include passing an exam, as well as providing proof that a candidate has met all requirements. The exam will include questions on topics such as court jurisdiction, legal ethics, and client rights.
- Make Contacts
It is important that bail bondsmen look at the demographics of their area before they set up their agency. Look at the number of established competitors in the area. Try to establish a good relationship with the legal communities and local law enforcement.
- Get Funds or Become Insured
In order to successfully maintain the business, bondsmen require access to a large supply of money to cover the bail cost. If you choose to be surety bondsmen, then you can buy a policy from an insurance company.