Tips For Picking A Suitable Bondsman

If you have ever been arrested or helped a close relative get out of jail, you know just how complicated the entire process and experience is. That is more so because courts require arrestees who prefer awaiting trial outside of jail to pay bail in most cases. Unfortunately, you cannot premeditate an arrest, and, therefore, may be unable to post bail out of pocket when it happens. That is when a bondsman steps in and is able to help secure your freedom.

Who is a Bondsman?

A bondsman refers to an individual, company, or agency that acts as a surety and helps you, the accused, settle bail by pledging cash or property. In return, some demand collateral, like jewelry or real estate, to guarantee your appearance on the trial dates set by the court. These professionals go by various other names, including bail bond agents, bond dealers, and bailsmen.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bondsman

Defendants and other parties involved in the arrest often lack time since an arrest can be an emergency, especially for employed folk or parents. As a result, most people opt for the first bondman they meet without much consideration of the end results. However, if you want to get the best bonding services, always consider the following:

1. Licensing

Different states require bondsmen to undergo different processes before joining established bonding companies or setting up new agencies. Generally, a bondsman has to be at least 18 years of age, have GED or high school diploma, and graduate from a pre-licensing course. Furthermore, they have to pass the state licensing exam before applying for a license. Ask a bondsman for evidence that they are licensed, and, therefore, are legally allowed to operate in a particular state. In addition, since bonding is usually fairly complicated, look for an agent certified in law, economics, and finance.

2. Bond fees

Most bail bonding agents generally require their clients to pay upfront and non-refundable premiums equal to 10% of the bail amount. The rates are state-mandated, and, therefore, are not negotiable and come with no discounts. In fact, in many states, any bonding agency that discounts the premium fee can lose its license. Therefore, familiarize yourself with the premium rates stipulated by your state authorities before picking a bondsman.  

3. Collateral options

Bonding companies often ask their clients for collateral to ensure they honor their agreement with the court and repay their debt. The collateral is returnable after the resolution of the case and satisfaction of all financial obligations. Some of the collaterals accepted by most bondsmen include real estate, vehicles, credit cards, and jewelry. It's advisable to choose a bondsman that accepts the type of collateral you have.  

Keep these tips in mind as you look for a bondsman service near you.