What is a Bail Bonds Agent?

What is a Bail Bonds Agent?

A person who pledges funds or property as bail or acts as a surety agent to secure a defendant's release from jail and their subsequent court appearances is called a bail bonds agent or a bondsman. Insurance companies and banks can also act as surety agents, but they are primarily associated with property bonds for a contractor that must pay to complete a specific construction project. Many of these types of organizations do not offer bail bonds because of the high level of risk involved. A bail bond agent can secure a defendant's release in a short period of time and are willing to assume any risk involved.

The United States is the most well known for bail bonds. The practice of bounty hunting and bail bonds is illegal in many other countries. In the United States, the American Bail Coalition has formed an umbrella group to help bail bonds agents throughout the United States.

The History of Bail

Tom and Peter McDonough started the first bail bonds business in 1898 in San Francisco. The concept of surety bonds, however, was first used in what is now known to be Iraq. Individuals would pay a specific sum of money or property to the court to obtain their release in return for agreeing to appear in front of a makeshift court. These events date back almost 4,000 years.

The Modern Bail Practice

Local court officials and licensed bond agents work together when it comes to bail bonds. They have a standing agreement in which the bail bonds agents post a “blanket” bond that is irrevocable. This means that the court will be paid the full amount if the defendant does not appear for their scheduled court hearing. Bail bonds agents also have working agreements with insurance companies who secure the bonds. The funds can be accessed even if the institution is closed. Due to this arrangement, there is no need to continually deposit cash or valuables for each new defendant. Even the laws concerning bail bonds can be inconsistent from state to state, they are covered by Federal laws and by the 8th Amendment of the Constitution. The Bail Reform Act of 1984 and the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act are also followed.

In California, all bail bonds agreements must be reviewed and certified by the Department of Insurance. This is mostly done by the insurance company issuing the bond before it ever reaches the bail bond agent. Bail bond agreements are incredibly long and must be carefully filled out.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the information of an attorney client relationship. Bail Bonds Direct makes no warranties or guarantees of case outcomes.

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