The Misconceptions About The Bail Bonds Industry

Bail Bond industry misconceptions

Every profession has its ups and downs and suffers some form of misconception from the public. The bail bonds industry is one plagued with numerous misconceptions. The situation is made worse by negative portrayal on reality shows and movies. Bail bonds agents are seen as corrupt individuals, often with shady deals and questionable links to the criminal world.

Their working conditions are also subjected to unsubstantiated myths as most people believe that bail bonds agents operate in hideous areas often associated with criminals. These misconceptions make it hard for genuine bail bonds agents to help defendants in posting bail. In this article, we are going to look at some of the misconceptions about the bail bonds industry.

Reports of fraudulent dealings by persons masquerading as bail bonds agents and exhorting funds from vulnerable members of the public have strengthened the misconceptions about the bail bonds industry.

Bail bonds agents, however, are genuine and hardworking individuals who are committed to helping defendants access bail services despite their economic capabilities. Like any other legal business, bail bonds agents provide their services for profit as a means of supporting themselves and their families. While the business, like all other businesses, still has some rogue operatives, most bail bonds agents are licensed people operating within the legal framework. Bail bonds agents must meet certain educational requirements and go through extensive background checks besides being licensed to operate in certain localities.

Bail bonds agents are mostly found in the US and are governed by different laws in various states and counties. Most of the countries in the world except the Philippines have no bail bonds agents. These agents work together with the judicial system in ensuring obedience to the court in honoring court appearances and help in reducing congestion in prisons. Bail bonds agents save local governments hundreds of thousands of dollars which would have been used to monitor defendants. The agents also allow the defendants an opportunity to engage in economic activities that help in gathering funds for their defense, a lawyer and to take care of themselves and their families.

The modern American bail bonds industry came into being in the late 19th century as a family business by the McDonough brothers. The two brothers maintained close networks with law enforcement personnel in California, rushing to help an arrested person secure bail. Since then, the industry has grown rapidly with many more families setting up bail bonds businesses. Currently, America has more than 14,000 bail bonds agents. Most of the bail bonds companies and agents are members of the American Bail Coalition and the Professional Bail Agents of the US.

debunking common bail bond myths

To debunk the myths surrounding bail bonds agents, it is crucial to understand their role in the legal profession. Bail bonds agents can be an individual or a corporation which places bail on behalf of the defendant. In the event where a defendant cannot raise the full bail amount, they may hire the services of a bail bonds agent. The agent pays the bail amount to the court, therefore, agreeing to take the penalty should the defendant fail to appear in court.

These agents are entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the accused appear in court on the stipulated dates. To compensate for the risk, bail bonds agents require the defendant to deposit a certain amount of money or attach collateral such as property.

Good bail agents ensure the defendant is aware of proceedings concerning their particular court cases by maintaining constant communication with the accused. This is helpful to most defendants as some cases may drag on for several months or years.

Bail bonds agents may require the defendant to physically check in with them regularly or sometimes through the telephone. Some situations may call for extreme measures prompting the agents to place a guard on them, a rare occurrence.

However, most defendants are adherent to their commitments in honoring their agreement with bail bonds agents. In fact, studies show that defendants released on bail bonds are more likely to show up compared to those released on personal bonds. Failure to appear in court at the stipulated dates may negatively affect the image of the defendant and this minimizes their credibility.

On the dates that their cases are to be heard, bail bonds agents ensure that defendants make a court appearance. In the event that the defendant fails to show up in court, the bail bond agent is allowed by the court or the agreement to bring the defendant to court.

Upon issuance of a bench warrant, the bond agent may hire a bounty hunter to find the defendant. When a bench warrant is issued, any property held as collateral for a bail bond may be seized to cover the cost of forfeiture fees incurred by the bail bonds agents.

Here are some of the misconceptions the bail bonds industry battles with:

Bail bonds agents can negotiate bail costs.

Dallas Bail Bonds Myth #1

Unlike what most people believe, bail bonds agents do not negotiate bail cost. Bail bonds agents are not included in the pricing of bail. The cost of bail is determined by the court after considerations such as the past history of the accused, their job status and economic positions, and the nature of the crime. Therefore, bail bonds agents cannot negotiate for the reduction in the bail price.

Bail bonds agents aid in the release of criminals.

Dallas Bail Bonds Myth #2

Another common misconception surrounding the bail bonds industry is that the agents help in the release of notorious criminals. This belief is far from the truth. The court decides who receives bail depending on the nature of the crime committed and the risk the accused poses to the society. The bail bonds agent allows the accused an opportunity to be joined with their friends and family as they await their court hearing and work towards a successful day in court. Bail bonds agents understand that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

Sometimes, the individuals released on bail are those with minor crimes such as traffic offenders. Defendants who do not pose a threat to the public are also provided with a bail.

All bail bonds agents charge a 10% non-negotiable fee.

Bail Bond myth #3 - all agents charge the same 10%

The non-negotiable fee paid to bail bonds agents varies, depending on the county or the bail bond agent. Typically, most cities and counties require bail bonds agents charge 10-15% of the bond amount as the premium fee for their services. Regardless if you’re looking for Bail Bonds in Dallas, it should be the same. Other charges apart from the non-negotiable fee may be charged. In cases where there is a huge amount of bail, the bail bond agent may hold the defendant’s assets as collateral. In the case where the bond costs $5000, the nonnegotiable agent fee will be $500. This amount is not refundable whether the defendant appears in court or not. The fee is fully earned once the defendant has been released on the bond posted by the bail bonds agent.

Closely related to this myth is the perception that the bail bond agent charges further fees, a certain percentage of the fees paid if the accused appears in court. However, this too is false. If the defendant appears for all court dates and there have been no other issues such as forfeitures, bond reinstatements, etc, no further fees are owed to the bail bonds agent. If they fail to appear, the money paid is taken by the court thus the agent has to go collect it from the defendant.

The bail bonds industry is unregulated.

Dallas Bail Bonds myth #4 - bail bond industry is unregulated

As stated earlier, the bail bond profession is subject to state and federal legislations. All bail bonds agents must meet certain education, age, and training requirements besides being licensed. Some of the legislation governing bail bonds industry include the Bail Reform Act of 1984. In some states such as California, the bail bond agreement has to pass through the California Department of Insurance to be credited and certified.

Bail bonds agents handle shady deals.

Dallas bail bonds myth #5 - bail bond agents are shady

Bail bonds agents and companies are an important part of the US criminal justice system. This belief mainly as a result of negative image propagated by media. In most films, the agents are portrayed as the bad guys raiding peoples homes or defrauding them of their hard-earned cash. This depiction of the agents as criminals affects their image to prospective clients and creates general mistrust of the profession.

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