BAIL BONDS 101
Ep.2 : Bond Fees
April 22, 2018
Let's talk about bond fees this week.
I couldn't tell you the number of telephone calls we receive from the jails that the defendant quotes us the price to get him out. A typical phone call usually goes like this:
Defendant - "Yeah, I got a $500 bond and I got the $50 on me, come get me."
Bond Agent - "So who am I talking to?"
Defendant - "John Smith."
Bond Agent - "And who can I call to cosign on your bond?"
Defendant - "I don't need anyone to cosign I got the money on me."
Bond Agent - "With our company you must have someone sign for you."
Defendant - *gives us several people and numbers and again says* "I got the $50 on me."
Bond Agent - "So is this a new charge?"
Defendant - "Yeah."
Bond Agent - "That fee is $75.00."
Defendant - :They told me it would be 10%, that's $50.00."
Bond Agent - "So who is the bondsman, me or the officer?"
In this area there isn't a legitimate bonding company whose minimum rate is less than $75.00. If you are in a municipal court and are picked up on a Failure To Appear the minimum is $100.00. In county court anything under a $750.00 bond is $75.00, and anything over that is 10%.
Now, in order to continue, I need to put a disclaimer in here -- the opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of my husbands.
Since the beginning of bail (the beginning of time) judges have expected the bondsman to collect the full amount of the bond fee. However, in this day and time some changes need to be expected and accepted. Do you remember when the car phone came out? You couldn't take that puppy out of your car to talk on it, and then a portable phone was invented but you needed to hire an assistant to carry the bag the portable phone came in and now we are to the point where our entire life is kept on a phone that is 3" X 5" X 1/2", your calendar, call list, calculator, internet can all be accessed in the palm of your hand. Just as the portable phone has evolved so must the payment of the 10% bond fee. We charge the full 10% of the bond fee and we have allowed some clients to make payments after a substantial portion is placed down. By state statute, bondsman are only allowed to take monetary amounts for the bond fee - we are not allowed to accept any kind of property in lieu of bond fees which is why we get pissed off when a defendant calls and says he has a car title he can give us for the bond, or his laptop, or his momma's diamond ring. You would not believe the asinine things we have been offered for bond fee. Why you ask -- because there are bonding companies out there that allow their agents to accept that crap.
And if your mantra is "sure I'll come write that $100,000 bond for $100 because I'll have $100 more in my pocket when I walk out than when I walked in" -- you have NO business being a bail bondsman.
If there is something specific you would like to learn about concerning this industry let me know, be glad to take it up in class. Otherwise next week's lesson will be why most bondsman cut their phone calls from the jail short.