In many if not most states in the United States, the regulatory agencies for bail bondsman is the same that regulates the insurance industry. A bail bondsman is an agent of an insurance company that underwrites and issues the bond, a surety bond.
What is a Surety Bond?
Surety bonds are legally binding contracts between two parties, the principal or the person needing the bond, usually the arrestee, and the obligee, the person requiring the bond. Usually the court of jurisdiction and the surety or insurance company issuing the bond and guaranteeing the principle will be paid to fulfill the obligation. Surety bonds are a bit confusing for most. They are part insurance and part credit, depending on your perspective. If the principal defaults (usually failure to appear in court) the obligee can file a claim if the bond’s promise is not met. Essentially a surety bond is a form of credit for the principle and insurance for the obligee or court.
Consequences of Not Abiding by the Terms of the Bond
Most surety bond clauses require you to abide by the terms of the bond. If you don’t abide by the terms of the bond, a claim can ensue and you are obligated to pay the full amount, including legal costs. An indemnity agreement pledges that you will reimburse the surety for any claims and lawful reimbursement for any costs to enforce the obligation. Collateral assets like personal property (cars, jewelry, etc.) and real property assets like land or a house are usually obligatory up to the amount of the bond. These assets are forfeited in the case of successful claim.
How Much Does it Cost to Bail Someone out of Jail?
These surety bonds also require that the principle agrees to forfeit his right to extradition if he flees the jurisdiction. This allows for the apprehension if the principle skips, and has crossed jurisdictional boundaries.
Typically the fees associated with a bail bond are 10% of the bond amount, with federal courts going up to 15 percent. The principle is responsible for obtaining this amount and paying up-front before any bail bond is issued. Bonds are issued to ensure court appearances, and that the arrestee complies with any special conditions pending the appearance before the judge. Most cannot afford bonds over $10,000, thus the bond facilitates release, guarantees appearance in court and helps to regulate detention facility populations.
Bail Enforcement & Fugitive Recovery Agents
Generally enforcement of the bond falls to a bail bond enforcement agent or fugitive recovery agent, a private individual that locates and apprehends the individual that defaulted and is not in compliance of the bond. Bond enforcement agents enjoy a high success rate as they dedicate the resources necessary to locate, detain and extradite the suspect. These’ bounty hunters’ charge about 10%, but this is cheaper than forfeiting the entire bond amount. Unless the defendant is a high profile or violent offender or an escapee law enforcement agencies dedicate few resources to the pursuit of a fugitive. Most arrest warrants are served incident to a traffic violation or response and/or investigation of an event.