While the crime rate has fallen more than 51% since 1993, millions of arrests are still made each year.
Every day, thousands of prisoners wait in county jails, many of them not charged with a crime. For many of them, the only chance they have to get out of jail before their trial is the bail system.
That’s where the bail bondsman comes in.
They are individuals who provide the money for the bail system to operate. They guarantee that a defendant will appear in court. They are responsible for making sure that the system functions the proper way and for tracking down those who do not abide by the rules.
What Is the Bail System?
The bail system has been around as long as U.S. law has existed.
For the vast majority of those suspected of committing a crime, bail is their only way to spend a long time in pre-trial detention. This makes bail a cornerstone of our criminal justice system.
The bail system puts a price on pre-trial freedom. It serves as a financial guarantee that those charged with crimes will appear in court. If the defendant appears for their scheduled proceedings, then the money will be returned.
While it is common for bail to be set, it is not always granted. For those who are significant risks to the community or are a flight risk, bail may be withheld. For most, however, the bail process begins with a pre-trial bail hearing.
During this hearing, the judge will consider many factors. At the hearing, the judge will set the bail according to the facts presented. At this point, a bail bondsman can step in and provide the money for the defendant.
What Exactly Is a Bail Bondsman?
The bail bondsman job description can be a complex one.
To break it down into basic terms, the bail bondsman is a provider of bail. Much like a loan, they provide the money to the suspect, who then pays the court. In this way, they act as a middleman that enables the system to function without too much delay.
In exchange for this, they charge a fee to the defendant. Bail bond agents not only provide a service which allows the pre-trial defendant to leave jail, but also make money for themselves.
How Much Does a Bail Bondsman Make?
The bail industry generates more than $2.3 billion dollars a year.
The average bail bondsman can expect to see between $50,000 and $80,000 a year in earnings. This can be affected by many factors, including where you live and how prevalent crime is there.
How much you earn will be entirely dependent upon you. Being proactive in finding clients and being visible are the best ways to ensure that you will continue to have bail clients. A constant flow of them will ensure you do well for yourself.
What Does the Average Day Look like for a Bail Bondsman?
On a day to day basis, you will be involved heavily with the criminal justice system. That means you can expect to spend time at the jail and working around the police. You can also expect to be contacted at your office quite regularly.
You will have to deal with defendants and their families on a regular basis. This can be a highly emotional time for many people. You will have to deal with people who are sometimes emotionally uncontrolled or volatile.
There is also a considerable amount of paperwork you will have to do. As a highly regulated industry, money and property used in the bail system is tracked. You will have to check up on clients and do your part in ensuring they arrive in court when they are supposed to be there.
Not All States Have the Same Laws
As with all areas of criminal law, there are differences between states.
If you want to become a bail agent in a state, your best bet is to contact someone who has experience operating in those states. In addition to this, you will want to speak to a lawyer from the areas in which you operate.
With so many regulations, the retrieval of those who do not appear in court can also be difficult. Understanding these complexities will be vital to you performing your job functions. In many cases, a bail bondsman works alone.
Staying in the Bail Bondsman Career
In order to succeed in the bail bond business, you have to be on your toes. You will need to maintain a good rapport with local law enforcement and criminal defense lawyers. The more avenues you have to getting clients the better off you will be.
The bail system is constantly being reviewed and states are always changing their laws about bail. Staying up to date in your area and the areas in which you may have to operate is vital.
A Rewarding Career That Challenges You
Overall, the bail bondsman business is not expected to vanish any time soon. It is an industry with two centuries of history. A bail bondsman career can be not only financially rewarding but also can reward you in other ways.
You will be the first point of contact, and perhaps the only stable one, for many defendants. Many will have never had much responsibility in their life. As a person helping them, you can make a difference in more ways than one.
With more people born in the United States every day, and more arrests being made every year, the bail industry never stops expanding. If you believe that being a bail bondsman is something you want to do with your life, then don’t hesitate. There is a market for those who are self-starters and can embrace the complex role of the bondsman in modern society.
If you are in North Carolina, South Carolina or Virginia contact Amistad Bailbonds & Associates today.