The bail bond system was put in place to allow the accused or the defendant to go home while awaiting their trial. This transaction allows them to set up a legal, financial guarantee for their future proceedings.
In the state of Virginia, there are two main types of bail bondsmen: property and surety bail bonds. If you want to learn more about the difference between the two, then you came to the right place. This brief article will go over the difference between a surety and a property bond and who you can reach out to if you are interested in becoming a bail bond agent in Virginia.
What Is a Surety Bail Bond?
A surety bail bond is one of the most common types of bail bonds in the state of Virginia. The bail is the agreement, usually money, that the accused provides in order to be released from jail.
Once they pay these funds, they promise to show up to appear in court continuously until their case closes. The accused typically agrees to pay a percentage of the bond before those funds are released to the court.
There are three people involved with a surety bond: the accused, the bail bond agent, and the court. If the accused fails to meet their end of the obligation, the bail bond agency will pay the bond in full to the court. With a surety bond, the Virginia surety bail bond agent acts as a surety, guaranteeing the bond.
What Is a Property Bail Bond?
The bail bond agent does not act as the surety with a property bond. Instead, the accused must provide a piece of property to act in as collateral for the bond. Many people prefer to obtain surety bonds in place of property bonds because of the risk of losing their homes.
How to Become a Virginia Surety Bail Bond Agent
As mentioned above, there are two types of bail bond agents in Virginia. Each of these agents has its own requirements a person must meet before earning their license as a Virginia bail bond agent.
Minimum eligibility requirements:
- Must be 18 years old
- Must be a United States citizen or a legal resident
- Must have a high school diploma or a GED
Before you can obtain your license, you must complete a 40-hour bail bondsman entry-level training. If you plan on applying for a firearms endorsement to carry a firearm, you will need to complete the entry-level firearms training.
When you complete your training, you will need to take your bail bondsman licensing exam and pass with at least a score of 70%. Once you pass, you will then need to pay the applicable fees and get yourself fingerprinted.
How to Become a Virginia Property Bail Bond Agent
The minimum requirements to become a Virginia property bail bond agent are the same as the surety bond agent requirements. In addition to those requirements, you will need to take your exam and pass with a minimum score of 70%.
Property bail bond agents in Virginia must prove they have $200,000 of collateral on their bonds and each agent. Any collateral that is not in the form of cash, real estate, or certificates of deposits insured by the FDIC must have approval from the DCJS.
If there is no approval from the DCJS, it will not be considered collateral. If you use real estate as collateral, the property must reside in Virginia, and it must be clear and free of any obligations or liens.
Information you must submit to the DCJS about the property:
- Appropriate deed of trust form
- Title certificate report
- Property collateral verification form
- Full title search
If you decide to use certificates of deposit or cash as collateral, you must submit a control agreement form. If applicable, you will need to submit your current financial statement and special power of attorney form.
How to Keep Your License
It is important to note that you will need to renew your license once every two years. You will need to complete bail bond agents continuing education courses within those two years. You need at least eight hours of in-service training. You will also need to take a firearm in training service if you have a firearm.
Bail Bondsmen Fees
As mentioned above, you will need to pay the applicable fees to obtain your license. Your licensing fee in Virginia is $900, and there is a criminal history processing fee of $25.
Other fees you need to pay:
- Firearm endorsement fee: $30
- Fingerprinting: $25-$35 depending on where you get your prints done
- Surety bail bondsman category fee: $100
Once you have your fees paid and submit all your necessary documents to the state, you can start practicing as a bail bondsman in Virginia. Many great companies you can work for will give you the tools and resources you need to be as successful as possible.
Bail Bondsmen Ineligibility
If you have been convicted of a felony in the United States within the past ten years, you cannot apply to become a bail bondsman in Virginia. If you or your spouse are employees of a regional or local jail, you are ineligible to become a bail bondsman. This includes sheriff’s offices, local or state police departments, or any person appointed as conservators of the peace.
Become a Bail Bonds Agent Today!
Now that you know about the two different types of bail bond agents in Virginia, it’s time to start your bail bond journey! Obtaining your license and working with a reputable company can provide excellent job security and a great working environment.
Regardless of whether you wish to become a property bail bond agent or a surety bail bond agent, we have the resources you need to succeed. If you want to learn more about becoming a bail bond agent, apply now for more information.