How do riverside bail bonds companies make money? Before we answer that question let’s understand what bail bond companies do. The goal of bail bond companies is to financially assist people who have been charged with crimes to live outside of prison legally while they wait for a trial date. State laws closely monitor bail bond companies. However, the regulations they set for these companies are a tad complex. Let’s learn more about this industry.
How Is Bail Defined?
When a person is charged with a crime they will be asked to go to court and appear before a judge. The judge will decide whether that person is to be released into the community before he or she goes into trial. However, there are some cases wherein the accused is allowed release by recognizance. This means that the judge is confident that the accused will not skip a court hearing and will obey all conditions set by the court like abstaining from drinking alcoholic beverages or finding a job but if the judge finds reasons to believe that the accused will not fulfill the demands set by the court, that person will be required to pay for a specific amount of money as an insurance that he or she will show up during the next court hearing. The court will keep the money until the trial is finished. The money will be returned when the person accused of the crime meets all the conditions of the bail.
How Does A Bail Bond Company Operate?
What happens if the accused cannot afford to pay the bail amount? If the accused cannot pool enough money from friends and family, the accused will have no choice but to ask for financial assistance from a bail bond company. A bail bond company will then sell that person a surety bond, this is a bond that functions as an insurance that the person accused will not ghost the court and will show up as ordered. People who operate a bail bond business are known as bail bondsmen.
Jail bond cost is usually just a fraction of the bail. State laws may control the amount but more often than not it’s 10% of the total bail. Furthermore, bail bond companies may request the accused of a collateral for security purposes such as valuables, jewelry, car or property. If the accused doesn’t have any of these a family member or a friend may help by agreeing to put up a collateral in order to secure the bond. When this has been done, the bail bond company will send one of its staff members to pay a percentage of the bail to the court and promise to pay the full amount when the accused will not show up during trial.
How Do Bail Bond Companies Make Money?
You’re probably wondering how bail bond companies earn money. Well, they get it from the cost of the bond. You see, the percentage paid by the accused will not be returned to him or her but rather is collected as the fee for the bond. This is actually the reason why lawyers discourage their clients from availing bail bond services. Usually, lawyers try to convince judges to lower the amount of bail so that the family of the accused will not be compelled to shell out a huge sum of money that has no assurance that they’ll get it back.
So What Happens When The Accused Disappears and Doesn’t Show Up?
Although majority of cases the accused will always comply and show up, there are rare instances when they don’t. When such case happens, the bail bond company owners are authorized to seize their clients and take them to court. The accused are captured by professional bail enforcement agents or otherwise known as bounty hunters. Bounty hunters are people who are trained and taught to safely arrest fugitives. What happens if the bounty hunters cannot track the accused? In such case, the bail bond company will have no choice but to pay the complete amount of the bail in court or they may seize the assets of the accused, which serves as collateral for the bond.
Is It Easy To Become A Bail Bondsman?
Every state is different so if you want to become a bail bondsman you need to know what your state requires. However, usually they require the person to undergo a training program and a background check as well as get a surety bond. There are also states that require bail bond agents to undergo continuing education courses so they will be allowed to renew their licenses.
A bail bondsman may also offer other services aside from helping out the accused pay off the court. Examples of such services include process serving wherein they hand deliver documents to defendants and private investigations. It is important to mention that state strictly control process servers and private detectives. Therefore, if you intend to add these services to your company you should acquire professional licenses.
A piece of advice, before you take on this kind of business make sure that you do your research and learn as much as you can about how to obtain licensing requirements and learn about the surety bonds, training programs and any addition fees you may be required to pay.
Are There Risks To This Kind of Business?
Like any other business, the bail bond industry has its own fair share of risks. The following are some of the risks involved in the bail bond business:
Being a part of the criminal justice system comes with risks because even though not everyone who is accused is actually guilty of a crime, most clients actually are and it can be dangerous to be working with these kinds of people because many of them are mentally ill or suffer from drug addiction.
Being a part of a bail bond company can be emotionally draining. For example, if the accused couldn’t present a collateral usually family members will offer theirs so that the accused can secure a bond. However, if the accused decides to become a fugitive, bail bondsmen will be left with no choice but to seize the collateral whether it’s a car, a valuable property or a home. Family members of the accused may end up homeless but as bail bondsmen you have no choice but to do it even if it hurts your conscience in order to keep the business going.
In cases wherein the accused becomes a fugitive you’ll be compelled to hire recovery agents also known as bounty hunters. Bounty hunters are trained and skilled to find fugitives. However, you’ll have no control over bounty hunters if they ever use force when they capture a fugitive and unfortunately, you are responsible for them so you have to be extra careful when hiring bounty hunters and you have to set clear instructions on how they handle the client.
The nature of the business will make you financially liable for your client if he or she evades the court. Therefore, if you plan to establish a bail bonds company you have to have enough cash flow to pay for the cost of bail while at the same time pay bounty hunters.
Bail bond services are strictly controlled and monitored by state laws. To stay in business, you have to ensure that you are in compliance with the regulations and laws and keep yourself updated if there are any changes made.
Do Bail Bondsmen Engage In Contractual Agreements With The Court?
Bail bondsmen often make contractual agreements with a number of courts specifying to posting a bond and agreeing to be permanently bound by that agreement. In exchange, the court will allow the bail bondsmen to bail the defendant by signature. The court will assume that the defendants are going to show up during the appointed court date or that the bail bondsmen will pay the full amount of the bail to the clerk of that court. Since it’s an irrevocable agreement the court will receive the full amount.
Through these agreements, the bail bondsmen will make a lot of money. At first, you’ll think that it’s one sided but if you analyze it, the bail bond company that’s in agreement with a court will be on high demand because defendants will want to be part of that prearranged agreement.
How Much Will A Bail Bondsman Earn From One Client?
Defendants are required to pay 10% of the full bail bond amount to the bail bond company at the start of the agreement. This amount is non-refundable so regardless if the defendant shows up or not, this amount will go to the bail bond company. For example, if the total bail amount is $40,000, the bail bondsman will acquire a signature release and take the $4000. If a bail bondsman receives 10 clients in a week, the bail bonds company will get a total of $40,000 in one week!
If you think about it, establishing a bail bonds company is indeed a lucrative business but as mentioned, it comes with risks.