Crime Pays - It Pays Me !
Before you get your panties in a bunch and thumb your noses up at the bail bonds agent , its worth mentioning that crime pays us as bail or surety agents AND police officers, prosecutors, clerks, public defenders, parole officers, correction officers, probation officers, judges and the rest of the criminal justice system. When you consider there were a total of 1,149,933 arrests in Florida in 2008 of which 1,031,627 were of adults and 118,306 were juveniles, you can get a better picture as to how that translates into big money churning throughout the criminal justice system. Criminals post bail, hire attorneys, enter supervised programs and pay court and supervision cost. Maybe these other professionals paycheck don’t come directly from the defendant but the whole system ties in together. It is one big wheel set into motion when a crime occurs. Somehow we all derive income from the perpetrators and their criminal activity. Without crime none of us would be employed. Not in this field anyway.
In a perfect world crime would be nonexistent but as the defective humans that we are many of us make poor choices because of greed, poverty, power, stupidity or just plain evil.
Service You Provide
Do I like what I do ? Absolutely ! Where else can you rub elbows with the shady character and the pillars of society alike and still come out smelling like roses. We provide a much needed service. We ease overcrowding of the jails. We help people bond out their families and keep tabs on defendants ensuring their appearance in court. We actively search for the ones adamantly opposed to making their court appearance. We provide revenue for the counties when our defendants don’t show. And on the occasion we might be let off the financial responsibility to the court because of some technicality, we still lose sleep and suffer the moral obligation to bring back the absconder. We corroborate fully with law enforcement to make sure they apprehend these fugitives and are brought back to face their day in court.
Everyone Loves a Bondsman
Everyone loves a trust worthy and honest bondsman, someone that will be at your beck and call when you need him/her. The poor and underprivileged , the upper echelon , the drug dealers, the wife beaters, the immigrants, the drunks, the rowdy party animals, the white collar criminal, the young and restless, the private attorneys, the public defenders all need a good bail agents number on their contacts list. You never really know when the unexpected might just happen to a client or a trusted friend.
Bail Bonds provides for one interesting career. If you are hard working, can put aside your perceived judgments, are service oriented, friendly, have some common sense, and not mind being up at all hours of the day or night you might just make a good bail agent. A bail bondman wears different hats at different times and being able to change and adapt is certainly a needed and welcome trait in the bail industry. During the day you are the office professional politely answering phones and questions, qualifying and negotiating bonds, doing your share of administrative duties and computer work, posting bonds at the jail , meeting clients and completing paperwork or pulling files at the court house. At night you might be answering phones at all hours of the night or lurking in the dark geared up with ready handcuffs and pepper spray waiting for your skip to show up.
Eligibility and Education Requirements
Here is what you need to know to enter this ever crazy and exciting field.
1. To become a Bail Bondsman in Florida you must first meet certain eligibility requirements.
You must be a bonafide resident of the State
You must be at least 18 years of age
You must not have been convicted of a felony
You must not have filed for bankruptcy
2. Once you know you are eligible you may continue signing up for the two educational requirements.
120 Hour Basic Certification Course
which is offered through Florida Bail Bond School at bailbonding.com or other similar school
Correspondence Course INS3 Bail and Bail Bond Insurance in Florida
offered through the University of Florida at UFL.edu
Both required courses offer most of the same material and can be done simultaneously. They discuss bail governing rules and regulations and familiarize you with bail terms and Florida statutes . The 120 hour class includes classes, materials, books, and presents speakers on related topics, a hand cuff procedures class and optional shooting range with concealed weapon licensing class.
Upon completion of both courses you will earn a temporary limited surety agent license that allows you to work as temp agent under the supervision of a licensed surety agent and agency. You must find someone willing to sponsor you and work 40 hours a week for a year to complete the year internship successfully . Limited duties will apply during this period and will serve to prepare you with the basic knowledge needed to sit for and pass the State Exam and ultimately earn your Florida Surety Agent License or as commonly known bail bond license.
Further requirements to remain in compliance and retain your license will be for you to take Continuous Education Courses. You will need 14 Hours every 2 years on complimentary issues and changes in bail rules, regulation and law.
Operating a Bail Bond Business
Bail is a complicated subject matter and learning every aspect of the business and how to operate one requires hand on experience that can only be had with time and experience. Anyone can be taught how to fill out the bond forms properly and drop them off at a detention facility but it takes some negotiating skills, tact, smarts and creativity to get through the sticky part of the business. How much you can make is dependant on your abilities, your business sense, your tolerance for risk , and your work ethics. Like with every other business you can get out of it as much as you are willing to put into it. Personally I know very wealthy bondsmen and also know the starving kind. The potential is there to become successful but a wide array of skills must first be fine tuned to achieve this. Continuously learning after getting your bail license is key. Signing up for courses in business management, accounting and investigating techniques go a long way in helping to operate the business and thus increase your chances for success.
It is also worth mentioning that honesty will set you apart in this business. I’ve heard plenty of clients recount their first impression of a bondsman being a man hanging out around the court house in a dark cloak and sunglasses. If you find a guy fitting this profile hanging around the courtroom or detention facility soliciting bail , he’s probably not licensed. For every legitimate and professional bondsman there is a shady character soliciting for one. They act like ambulance chasers . Waiting for someone’s tragedy to pounce and solicit a bond. This behavior is unethical and illegal. Although they might get away with this for awhile most certainly their bail career will be short lived.