The role of a licensed bail bondsman is not always fully understood. They are not just bounty hunters. Many states today actually prevent bondsmen from bounty hunting completely. Bail bondsmen help defendants to get out of jail and provide financial incentives for making all court dates. A licensed bail bondsman can play several roles.
Help Defendants Post Bail Bonds
The primary role of a licensed bail bondsman is to help defendants post bail bonds. These bonds allow defendants to remain out of jail while awaiting a trial. Bail bondsmen maintain contracts or agreements with insurance companies and the courts. These contracts effectively let the bondsman or agency vouch for the defendant in a case. The result is that bondsmen can often post bail amounts that are less than the full value determined by the court. Defendants benefit from this because only a fraction of the money for a bond is needed for release.
Assist With Financing or Payment
Some licensed bail bondsmen assist defendants or the family and loved ones of defendants with financing. This can occur when someone does not have enough cash to post the bond through the agency. The bondsmen will sometimes accept credit cards for payment instead of cash. Certain bondsmen will accept assets like a car or home as security until the court case has been resolved. A few larger agencies actually provide financing or installment plans. This can be an invaluable service when a defendant or loved one does not have enough money to pay the necessary bond amount.
Ensure Defendants Appear In Court
A licensed bail bondsman takes on the responsibility of making certain that defendants appear in court. Bondsmen do this in a variety of ways. Defendants might have to call or check in with the bondsman on a regular basis. A bondsman might show up to check that the defendant is aware of an upcoming court date. Some bondsmen are available who will actually drive defendants to court. This is necessary because failure to appear in court means the bondman loses the money posted for the bail bond.
Provide Support and Guidance When Necessary
Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a confusing and emotional time for the defendant and any friends or family members. Certain bail bondsmen can provide support and guidance during this period when necessary. The bondman knows the legal process. This means assisting the defendant with paperwork or other items that are needed to remain in compliance with the law. Some bail bondsmen will go a step further and help clients by providing rides to and from court or jail. A licensed bail bondsman can guide clients through the complex legal areas surrounding bail and court hearings.
Find Missing Defendants
A final role of a licensed bail bondsman is to locate and recover missing defendants who did not show up for set court dates. Recovering a defendant is not allowed in all areas. A bail bondsman could use a number of tactics to track down a fleeing defendant. The bondsman will then return the defendant to jail or to the court. Recovering a defendant within a certain period of time often means the money posted for the bail bond will be returned.