When describing America, many conjure images of baseball, apple pie, and blue jeans. These pictures are all great, but there is another purely American thing that should be added to the mix–bail bondsmen. Why you might ask? Because this career is a uniquely American way to become involved in the criminal justice system.
The monumental year 1776 brought about many changes for the soon-to-be United States. For one thing, the Thirteen Colonies declared their independence from England. This caused many changes in government and law, one of them directly pertaining to the discussion at hand–while bail bonds were illegal under English law, the colonies saw fit to change that status. After 1776, bail bonds, promises guaranteeing payment if a defendant should not appear in a criminal proceeding in court, were legal. This change opened up many possibilities and eventually the career of bail bondsman was created in 1898. In this year, Tom and Peter McDonough created a company that put up the court specified amount for bond, taking a bail bonds utah smaller payment from the defendant, thus promising that the person would show up in court.
The practice has evolved leaps and bounds since 1898. Modern bail bondsmen, or bond agents, are usually licensed through the State Department of Insurance and have a standing security agreement with court officials in their area. This agreement is that they will pay a bond to cover a defendant and are responsible if the defendant does not appear in court. More and more people are seeing these jobs as a great way to become involved in the criminal justice system and there is increasing interest in bond agent careers. But, before you take all your savings and head to the local jail to act as a bond agent, read these simple steps outlining the process of becoming a bona fide bail bondsman.
Before you check out becoming a bail bondsman, the State will check you out. Most states require pre-licensing background checks, usually before the individual enrolls in classes or receives study materials. In these background checks, officials are looking for felonies and other crimes. They want to make sure that they have a good, upstanding individual who will not be tempted to abuse their position. After all, you are working for the state and the criminal justice system where corruption is not to be tolerated.
Time for school–bring a notebook and pencil. Some states require pre-licensing education on the profession and bail bonds in general. Usually schools in the area provide these classes, but sometimes the states will. Some states do not have formal classes and instead provide study materials so people who are interested can teach themselves. Regardless of how each state goes about this process, it is important to become educated about the profession, especially specific guidelines that might exist in your state. Aside from classroom setting learning, some states also require an apprenticeship so the potential bond agent has a better understanding of the system.
Ace the test. After a potential candidate has taken all of the necessary courses, they can take the licensing exam. This exam verifies your knowledge about the guidelines for your state and determines if you should be licensed as a bond agent. If you pass this test, your individual state will issue a license.
Time to get started. Once you are licensed but before you can get to work as a bond agent, you need to contact local insurance companies to obtain surety insurance. This specific type of insurance is completely necessary in the bond business and allows the agent to issue bonds to get clients out of jail.
You’re ready to be a legitimate bail bondsman. Once all of these steps have been completed, you can begin to work as a bail bondsman. At this point, all of your hard work will pay off and you can start becoming involved in the criminal justice system of the United States of America.