Thinking About Getting Into Bail Bonds? Here are a Few Facts You Need to Know

Bail bonds process

Whether you need to enlist the services of a Miami bail bonds person or you just need to know how bail bonds work, here are a few important facts you need to know.

A bail bond agent, or bondsman, is any person or corporation that will act as a surety and pledge money or property as bail for the appearance of persons accused in court. Although banks, insurance companies and other similar institutions are usually the sureties on other types of contracts (for example, to bond a contractor who is under a contractual obligation to pay for the completion of a construction project) such entities are reluctant to put their depositors’ or policyholders’ funds at the kind of risk involved in posting a bail bond. Bail bond agents, on the other hand, are usually in the business to cater to criminal defendants, often securing their customers’ release in just a few hours.

The first modern bail bonds process in the US, the system by which a person pays a percentage of the court-specified bail amount to a professional bonds agent who puts up the cash as a guarantee that the person will appear in court, was established by Tom and Peter P. McDonough in San Francisco in 1898. However, history tells us that the first surety bail bonds were agreed upon in what is today modern Iraq. Citizens were released from jail by having an indemnitor pay a sum in currency and to pledge the defendant will show up to court backed by the indemnitor’s property such as his sheep. Stone carvings place these events at over 4,000 years ago.

Though the bail bonds process is a bit different in each state, what are bail bonds are still fairly similar. Bond agents generally charge a fee of 10 percent for a state charge and 15% for a federal bail bond, with a minimum of 100 dollars in some states like Florida, required in order to post a bond for the full amount of the bond. This fee is not refundable and represents the bond agent’s compensation for their services. Some states, such as North Carolina, charge a flat 15 percent where other states that charge 10 percent can also bill the defendant for phone calls, gas, mileage, anything that has to do with the apprehension of the subject.

One argument for abolishing the bail bonds process is that when a bailed defendant flees, the state does not receive the full bond amount from the bond agent but only a percentage which is often as low as 5 percent. This means that the bond agent makes between a five and ten percent profit at the states’ expense even when the bailed defendant flees. In many locations, such as Dallas, Texas, bail bondsmen owe thousands of dollars in forfeit fees. However, in some states such as Florida, this is not the case. Bondsmen are responsible for paying the forfeitures, and if they do not pay the full amount, they can no longer write bonds in the state
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