When bail is set for a defendant, it means the court believes the defendant will attend their scheduled court dates if released but makes the defendant pay an amount (bail) in exchange for their release pending the outcome of their case. A bail bondsman will work outside of business hours to help defendants pay their bail in exchange for a fee.
How to Become a Bail Bondsman
Step 1: Research the Minimum Requirements
Each state sets the minimum requirements to meet to become a bail bondsman. Generally, there is an age requirement to meet, typically you must be at least 18 years old. Then, you’ll most likely be required to pass a background check and a credit check. Your state may also require you to take an exam as well. If your state requires that, you can find courses to help you study online or check your local vocational or community college to see if they have training available.
Step 2: Research your Competition
The Professional Bail Agents of the United States, recommends you research how many bail bondsman are in your area as well established bail agents may be difficult to compete with. You can also talk to any law enforcement and attorneys you may know to assess this.
Step 3: Get licensed
Your state may require a license. To find out, just check with your state’s Department of Insurance and ask. The The Professional Bail Agents of the United State walks you through the process of being licensed (link opens in a new tab).
Job Description of Bail Bondsman
A bail bondsman provides the funding a defendant will need to meet bail. Basically, bail is the security deposit for a defendant to meet in order for them to be released from custody until the set date of their next court appearance. This bond promises the court that the defendant will appear for a hearing on the set date and time. If the defendant does not show for their scheduled appearance, the bail bondsman will loose the money they posted for bail. If this happens, the bail bondsman could have lost a large sum of money and may even hire a person called a bounty hunter to find, capture, and return the person.
Here’s a little history lesson. The 8th Amendment of the United States is actually responsible for ensuring a person can meet bail. It states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” This was passed by Congress in 1789 and ratified in 1791.
Professional Bail Agents of the United States, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, About Bail – How to Become a Bail Agent.
National Constitution Center. Common Interpretation The Eighth Amendment by Bryan A. Stevenson and John F. Stinneford.
IBISWorld. Bail Bond Services Industry in the US.