How to Become a Licensed Bail Bondsman in Florida
If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing a bail bond career there are a few things you need to know to get licensed and start the lengthy process to become a bail bondsman. All states have slightly different regulations so make sure to find the governing department for bail in the state you wish to conduct business in.
Florida is one of the most highly regulated states for bail. The bail industry is overseen by the Department of Financial Services previously known as the Department of Insurance. In Florida to become a licensed bail bondsman first you need to meet the following criteria as outlined in Florida Statues Chapter 648 which governs bail. The actual title for bail bondsmen is that of a Limited Surety Agent, the actual license is Limited Surety Agent License 2-34.
If you are considering doing any type of bounty hunting work it is worth mentioning here that Florida does not allow or license bounty hunters. To perform the duties of such you need to be a licensed Florida Bail Agent and be appointed by the same insurance company that underwrote the bond you plan to pursue. Bounty hunting is illegal in Florida. That being said, you may qualify to begin the process of bail licensing if the below are met.
- You need to be at least 18 years of age and have at least a high school diploma
- Be a resident of the state of Florida
- Have not been convicted of a felony, or crime of moral turpitude or any other crime punishable by a year or more
If all the above are well then you may continue the process by
- Taking a 120 hour basic certification criminal justice bail bond course and pass written examination ($550)
- Taking a 20 hour correspondence course offered by the University of Florida which includes books and all materials ($300)
- Submitting an application to the Department of Financial Services accompanied by an affidavit from the future employer attesting to the applicants character and integrity
- Be referred or vouched by 3 reputable citizens of the county where you will be conducting business
- Submit payment for background and credit checks (approximate $65)
- Submit fingerprints and photo (approximate $60)
Completing successfully the above will only earn you a temporary bail bond license. Now you may legally commence employment as a temp agent at an established bail agency willing to intern you for a the required 24 month internship, although earlier termination of internship can be requested after 12 months with fulltime employent.
- You need to work at least 30 hours a week for 52 weeks to request earlier termination. The employer is required to document hours and submit them to the Department of Financial Services on a monthly basis.
Lastly, upon internship completion you are now ready for your Department of Financial Services proctored state exam. Scheduling is easy as there are multiple locations for Pearson VUE Testing Centers throughout the state. They administer all insurance, real estate and state test. You may call 888.204.6289 to schedule it.
Other requirements below pertain to keeping your bail license once internship is complete and permanent bail license is had.
- You must maintain a place of business in a Florida county open to the public during regular business hours where records will be kept and accessible
- Comply with 14 hours of continuing education courses every two years
Who offers 120 hour Bail Bond Course?
Florida Bond School, Inc. Located in Miami, Florida holds classes several times a year. ($550)
FSAA also offers classes for $600 but you need to check their website as locations may vary.
The course is easily completed within a two week period. Normally hours run Monday through Saturday 8am - 7pm.
The course consists mainly of classroom instruction. Some firearms and arrest techniques are also taught. Florida Statues Chapter 648 and Bail Bond Rules and Regulations Chapter 903 governing bail and bail administration are the main focus. Speakers and guests are brought in to supplement the course.
A temporary bail bondsman can perform the same duties as a licensed bail bondsman with the following exceptions:
1. They may not sign bonds nor handle collateral
2. They must be accompanied by a licensed bail agent when aprehending, arresting and surrendering a defendant
3. May not drop off bonds at the jail
4. May not work out of any other agency or branch agency separate from the location of his supervising bail agent
Other duties most likely to be performed by an intern include answering phones, negotiating and qualifying bonds. During this period you will also learn to properly execute insurance companies bonds forms, learn locations and bail protocol for the different jails. You might input data, file, learn to properly take collateral, help with the tracking of skips and hopefully go out in the field and gain some first hand knowledge to deal with fugitive apprehensions.
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