A person arrested for a criminal offense in Florida may be required to remain in jail pending a trial. If a judge permits it, the offender can return home after posting bail as a guarantee that he will remain in the city. The amount of bail is determined by the judge based on the defendant’s criminal history, the nature of the offense, and whether or not the defendant poses a risk of failing to appear in court. A defendant, on the other hand, who cannot afford to pay bail can employ a bail bondsman to acquire a surety bond on his behalf because bail is normally set at a high price, putting the need for a bail bondsman over the roof. This article describes how to become a bail bondsman in Florida.
This includes requirements, processes, and basically every piece of detail you should know moving forward.
What Is a Bail Bond and How Does It Work?
The defendant has the option of paying the full sum of bail determined by the judge. He or someone he knows can post a bail bond if he can’t afford bail. A bail bond is a type of surety bond that guarantees the defendant will not flee the city before his trial. It isn’t the full sum of the court-ordered bail, but it guarantees full payment if the defendant violates his agreement.
How Much Do Bail Bonds in Florida Cost?
A price must be paid in order to get a bail bond. If the bail amount is less than $750, a Florida bail bond costs $100. The fee is 10% of the bail amount if the bail is set at more than $750. If the defendant is unable to meet the bail bondsman’s criteria, he has two options: remain in custody pending trial or request a second hearing with the judge to try to reduce the bail sum.
What Is the Role of a Bail Bondsman?
A bail bondsman, also known as a Limited Surety Agent in Florida, assists persons seeking bail in securing funds. Bail bond companies do not retain bail money on hand. Instead, they ask a surety agency for bonds. And because it is very hazardous for surety agencies to offer bail bonds directly to defendants, this middleman system is required. They can, and do, give bonds to respectable bail bond companies with whom they have a good working connection.
Furthermore, because the defendant or his family must provide the bail bondsman with collateral equal to the amount of bail if the defendant fails to appear at his trial, the defendant or his family must provide him with collateral equal to the amount of bail. A car, a house, jewelry, or other assets can be used as collateral.
If the defendant arrives in court, the collateral is restored, save for the original downpayment, which is kept by the bail bondsman as a fee. If the defendant fails to appear, the bail bondsman will use the collateral to pay the bail amount to the courts.
Requirements to Become a Bail Bondsman in Florida
In order to work as a bail bondsman in Florida, you must be a Florida resident, at least 18 years old, and have a high school diploma or G.E.D. A bail bondsman in the United State must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully authorized to work in the country.
The applicant must first finish a 120-hour certification course before receiving a temporary license. Completing the required training hours gives the applicant a shot at becoming a bail bondsman in Florida. Applicants must also score 80 percent or above on the course. If a student fails the course three times, they must retake the 120-hour course.
Aspiring agents can apply for a Temporary License for Resident Limited Surety Agent after receiving their certifications. They must also work for a licensed bail bonds agency for at least 1,540 hours and 12 months. The applicant can apply for a Resident Limited Surety Agent license after that period of time has passed. Applicants are officially bail bondsmen if they have met all of the license requirements and passed the exam.
Other requirements for bail bondsmen include having good character and integrity, as well as having no criminal record. Background and reference checks are also required of applicants.
Meanwhile, former police and law enforcement officers, as well as attorneys, judges, bailiffs, and anyone in a position to arrest someone else, are prohibited from working as bail bondsmen. Also, anyone who works in jail or has any form of authority over convicts in the prison system is ineligible to become a bail bondsman.
Steps to Becoming a Bail Bondsman in Florida
Bail bond agents can obtain one of three licenses from the Florida Division of Insurance:
- The license for a Temporary Bail Bond Agent
- The license for a Limited Surety (Bail Bond) Agent
- Professional Bail Bond Agent
Basically, before seeking licensure as a professional or limited bail bond agent, you must first get a temporary bail bond agent’s license. Except for temporary bond agents, all bail bond agents have the authority to execute and sign bonds, manage collateral receipts, deliver bonds and defendants to jail, and run bail bond companies.
Professional bail bond agents are allowed to use their own money as collateral for court-ordered bail bonds.
Continue reading to learn how to get a temporary bail bond agent license (which expires after 18 months) and a permanent bail bond agent license.
Temporary Resident Limited Surety (Bail Bond) Agent
A temporary resident limited surety agent license, often known as a temporary bail bond agent license, permits a person to practice as a bail bond agent under supervision while gaining the experience needed to become a fully licensed professional. Individuals who want to get a temporary license must meet the following requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- Be a Floridian
- Be employed and supervised by a licensed bail bond agent if you are a US citizen or legal alien with the right to work in the US.
- You must not have been convicted of a felony or a crime that resulted in more than a year in imprisonment.
If you meet these requirements, you can become licensed by following the processes outlined below.
Step 1: Acquire the Necessary Experience
Temporary bail bond agents must have completed 120 hours of a basic criminal justice certification course with an 80 percent or better pass mark. In order to become a bail bond agent, you must also complete a correspondence course offered by the University of Florida. Also, you must complete all of your coursework within four years after applying To become a licensed temporary bail bond agent in Florida.
You and your supervising bail bond agent must file an affidavit under oath certifying that you are actively engaged as a bail bond agent once you have finished the educational requirements.
Step 2: Fill Out the Application Completely
The Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Service must approve temporary bail bond agents. The application involves submitting three notarized declarations, a full-face photograph, the bail bond appointment form, the $90 license fee, and a $50 application fee.
Temporary bail bond agents must be fingerprinted and pay a $48.55 fingerprinting fee to the fingerprint vendor.
The education provider will submit the agency confirmation that you passed within 20 days after finishing your pre-licensing classes.
Step 3: Get Your License
You will receive your temporary bail bond agent license once you have completed the requirements above. The 18-month temporary license is valid. You can apply for a bail bond agent license after completing one year of full-time job experience (at least 1,540 hours). Supervisors of temporary bail bond agents are required to report to the Agency on a monthly basis.
Limited Surety (Bail Bond) Agent or Professional Bail Bond Agent
You can apply to become a licensed resident limited surety (bail bond) agent or a professional bail bond agent after holding a temporary bail bond agent license for a year and accumulating 1,540 hours of work experience. Professional bail bond agents, unlike limited surety agents, put their own money up as collateral for a bail bond. However, to become a licensed agent, you must first meet the age and background requirements listed above. Then you must complete the steps below.
#1. Submit an Application for Licensure
All applicants seeking bail bond agent licenses must submit an application and pay a $50 application fee* as well as an $80 bail bond agent charge. You must also provide the following items in addition to the completed application and license fees:
- Three sworn declarations from law-abiding citizens
- A passport-sized image taken recently
Individuals interested in becoming licensed professional bail bond agents must additionally submit the following documents:
- The cost of a bail bond agent’s filing
- The copy of a financial statement
- All bail bondsmen must have their fingerprints taken and pay a $48.55 fingerprinting fee.
#2. You Must Pass the Exam
The Florida Insurance Licensing Exam is required for both limited and professional bail bond brokers. Before taking the exam, you must first get authorization from the Agency. The exam for bail bond agents is a 60-question, one-hour exam. Within a 12-month period, candidates may take the exam five times. To pass, candidates must properly answer 70% of the questions. You must retake the 120-hour approved basic criminal justice certification course if you fail the exam three times. The state exam costs $42.
#3. Get Your License
You will become a licensed bail bond agent in the state of Florida after completing the above requirements. The Agency must appoint you in order for your license to be legitimate. Licenses that have not been appointed will expire after four years.
Every two years, by the end of the licensee’s birth month, bail bond brokers must complete 14 hours of continuing education (CE). Five hours of law and ethics and nine hours of elective credits are required for CE credits.
Related Professional Opportunities
Many bail bond agents augment their income by working in ancillary fields such as private investigation or process serving. Both occupations provide essential experience for your bail bond agent career. Some of these fields include;
#1. Private Detective/Private Investigator
For their clients, private investigators or private detectives look into a variety of facts, including personal information, financial data and patterns, and legal information. To work as a private investigator in Florida, you must be at least 18 years old, a US citizen or legal resident with the right to work in the United States, free of felonies or other criminal records, and free of mental disorder. Visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to learn more about licensing kinds and requirements.
#2. Process Server
In Florida, a bail bond agent may begin their career as a process server or operate as both a process server and a bail bond agent. The court’s legal activities are communicated to defendants, witnesses, and other interested parties through process servers. A process server in Florida must be certified by the 12th Judicial Circuit. Process servers must be at least 18 years old, pass a background check and examination, and post a $5,000 bond.
Instructions on how to become a process server in the state are provided by the 12th Judicial Circuit.
Training and Education Options in Florida
Although obtaining a degree or other qualification in criminal justice could make you a more marketable bail bond agent in Florida, however, you are not needed to have one. Bail bond brokers should concentrate on two-year criminal justice and private investigation programs. Individuals who are not sworn law enforcement officers can receive training at several police academies. Here are a few programs available in Florida that bail bond agents might wish to look into:
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Northeast Florida Criminal Justice Center
4715 Capper Road
Jacksonville, FL 32218
Valencia College School of Public Safety 8600 Valencia College Lane Orlando, FL 32825 http://valenciacollege.edu
Most bail bond agents in Florida work for a bail bondsman, however, professional bail agents can also act on their own. There are over 70 registered bail bond agents in Florida, according to the Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS).
Bail bond agents are recruited based on their previous experience and are only paid if they are successful in locating and returning the person who has skipped bail. So, consider taking an apprenticeship with a more experienced bail bond agent to boost your chances of securing continuous work.
Furthermore, in order to be a successful bail bond agent, you must network. Get to know the bail bondsmen in your area and be ready to demonstrate your experience in the field. A list of resources for bail bond agents in the state is provided below.
Florida Bail Agents Association (FBAA)
725 W Main St
Tavares, FL 32778
Florida Surety Agents Association (FSAA) 513 W Main St Tavares, FL 32778