Home Next Meeting |  President's Message | LobbyistEducation  | Membership | Industry Studies | Forms  | Affiliates
design design


pic
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
 
An association by Bail Agents for Bail Agents working together for a better tomorrow!
 
 
Becoming a Bail Bond Agent
   
 

 Information provided by the Florida Division of Agent and Agency Services.

  1. What Florida laws regulate bail bond agents?
    Chapter 648, Florida Statutes and Chapter 69B-221, Florida Administrative Code.
  2. What is a limited surety agent? The official title of the license issued to bail bond agents in Florida is a limited surety agent license.
  3. What are the requirements to be a bail bond agent? Prior to becoming licensed as a bail bond agent, the applicant must have obtained a temporary bail bond license and completed the provisions of that license before applying for a limited surety agent license. In addition, the applicant must have the following qualifications:
    • Be at least age 18 and hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
    • Be a United States citizen or be a legal alien and a resident of this state
    • The place of business of the applicant will be in this state
    • The applicant is vouched for by at least 3 reputable citizens who are residents of the same counties where the bail bond agent will work.
    • The applicant was never convicted of a felony, or a crime involving moral turpitude, or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more.
    • Applicant has successfully passed the required examination.
    • The applicant passes the background check conducted by the department.
  4. What is the background check? The applicant is required to furnish a complete set of fingerprints to be used to obtain a criminal history from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The application process is not complete until this history is received.
  5. I was convicted of a felony, but I have had my civil rights restored. Can I be a bail bond agent in Florida? No. Florida Statutes 648.34 states you may not be a bail bond agent if you have ever been convicted of a felony. The restoration of your civil rights does not alter this requirement.
  6. I am a former certified law enforcement officer. Am I exempt from taking the correspondence course for the bail bond license? The Florida Statutes do not provide any exemptions from taking the course, regardless of occupation. However, the Florida Statutes 648.355(4) does provide that if you have completed a basic certification course in the criminal justice system of not less than 120 hours within the last 4 years, then you may substitute that course for the required 120 hour course as long as you scored at least a grade of 80% or higher.
  7. Can a law enforcement officer also be a bail bond agent? No. Florida Statutes 648.44 prohibits law enforcement officers, jailers, attorneys, employees of any jail, judges, or anyone having custody or control over prisoners from being a bail bond agent.
  8. What is a professional bail bond agent? A professional bail bond agent uses his/her own money to post bail for defendants by pledging United States currency, United States postal money orders, or cashier’s checks as security for the bail bond in connection with a judicial proceeding and receives or is promised money or other things of value for doing so. Professional bail bond agents must be licensed and appointed and complete the same continuing education requirements as a limited surety (bail bond) agent.
  9. What are the qualifications to be a professional bail bond agent? A professional bail bond agent must meet the same eligibility requirements listed for a bail bond agent, plus file a detailed financial statement under oath with each application, renewal or continuation of appointment, and file with the Office of Insurance Regulation the premium rates to be used for bail bonds to be written. These filings must be made before the professional bail bond agent writes any bail bonds in Florida.
  10. How do I become a temporary bail bond agent? In order to obtain a temporary bail bond agent license, the applicant must:
    • Be at least age 18 and hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
    • Be a United States citizen or be a legal alien and a resident of this state.
    • The applicant was never convicted of a felony, or a crime involving moral turpitude, or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more.
    • Successfully completed with a grade of 80% or better, a basic certification course in the criminal justice system of not less than 120 hours of classroom instruction.
    • Successfully completed a correspondence course approved by the department.
    • The applicant is vouched for by at least 3 reputable citizens who are residents of the same counties where the temporary bail bond agent will work.
    • Application must be accompanied by an affidavit from the proposed bail bond agent employer verifying employment and attesting to the applicant’s integrity and moral character.
    • All licensing fees must be paid prior to issuance of the license.
  11. How long is a temporary bail bond agent license valid? The temporary bail bond agent license is effective for a maximum of 18 months.
  12. When can a temporary bail bond agent apply for a permanent bail bond agent license? A temporary bail bond agent may apply for a limited surety agent (bail bond) license after 12 months and the completion of at least 1,540 hours as a temporary bail bond agent.
  13. How does a temporary bail bond agent show completion of the required hours? Each month the Temporary Bail Bond Agent Employment Report
    (DFS-H2-1543.doc) should be notarized and submitted to the department for the hours worked for the previous month.
  14. What can a temporary bail bond agent do? The temporary bail bond agent has the same authority as a bail bond agent as long as the supervising agent is present at the time.
  15. Can a temporary bail bond agent interview inmates at the jail? Only if the temporary bail bond agent is accompanied in the interview by the supervising bail bond agent. This would be a part of the training by the supervising bail bond agent to show the temporary bail bond agent the proper way to interview an inmate. The temporary bail bond agent can not conduct this interview alone.
  16. What can a temporary bail bond agent NOT do? The temporary bail bond agent may not:
    • Execute or sign bonds
    • Handle collateral receipts
    • Deliver bonds to the jail
    • Operate a bail bond agency away from the supervising bail bond agent.
  17. Can I sign the bail bonds in advance for use by my employees? No. Florida Statutes 648.441 prohibits any bail bond agent, MGA, or insurer from furnishing any blank forms, applications, stationery, business cards, or other supplies to any person that is not licensed and appointed as a bail bond agent.
  18. Can I pass the fee I am charged by the credit card companies on to the indemnitors obtaining bail bonds? The fees charged by a credit card company may be passed on to the indemnitor when collateral is obtained through a credit card, if the fees are posted in the agency and on the collateral receipt. These fees cannot be passed on to the customer for premiums paid using a credit card.
  19. When am I required to return the collateral on a bail bond? Within 21 days after receiving the notice of discharge from the court, the bail bond agent must return the collateral to the proper party. (F.S. 648.571)
  20. What if I do not receive a discharge notice from the court? The statutes do provide that the bail bond agent will make a written request of the clerk of the court for the county where the bond was posted for the discharge notice on the bond when the bail bond agent has reason to believe the bail bond has or should have been discharged. The clerk of the court then has 7 days to respond to the bail bond agent’s request or the bail bond is automatically considered discharged. (F.S. 648.571)
  21. What is considered to be a valid reason for making the request for proof of discharge to the clerk of the court? There are several occurrences that would be considered reasons for the bail bond agent to make a request to the clerk of the court to verify the discharge of a bond. These instances should be well documented and include:
    • When the bail bond agent knows that the defendant has been recommitted to the custody of the court,
    • The defendant has died and the death certificate has been filed with the court, or
    • The agent knows that the case has been resolved and the bond is no longer needed.
    In each of these cases it is the bail bond agent’s responsibility to obtain the documentation that supports the agent’s position that the bond should be discharged by the court.
  22. Can a bail bond agent require the indemnitor to obtain a certified copy of the discharge prior to the collateral being returned? No. It is the bail bond agent’s responsibility to monitor the case and return the collateral to the proper party in a timely manner. The bail bond agent may not impose additional restrictions or requirements on the collateral.
  23. Can I accept cash for collateral on a bail bond? Yes, but the funds used as collateral must be kept separate from the other funds of the agent and assets of the agency.
  24. Can I accept cash over $50,000 as collateral on a bail bond? Yes, but cash that is accepted in an amount over $50,000 must be made payable to the insurer and received in the form of a cashier’s check, United States postal money order, certificate of deposit, or money wire.
  25. Can I take real estate as collateral on a bail bond? Yes, but the mortgage/lien must be in the name of the insurer issuing the bail bond.
  26. How do I account for the collateral accepted on a bail bond? When a bail bond agent accepts collateral, a written, numbered receipt shall be given, and this receipt shall give in detail a full account of the collateral received.
  27. How must I return the collateral? The collateral must be returned to the person that provided it for use on the bail bond in the same manner and condition that it was received by the bail bond agent.
  28. What if the bail bond goes into forfeiture and I need to convert the collateral to cash? When a bond forfeits the bail bond agent must provide the indemnitor and the principal on the bond with 10 days advance notice of the agent’s intent to convert the collateral deposit to cash to satisfy the forfeiture.
  29. What if the collateral I am holding is worth more than the amount of the bond that forfeited? The bail bond agent or insurer is required to refund the excess amount of money received from the conversion of the collateral.
  30. How long must I keep my records? Records must be kept for at least 3 years after the liability on the bond has been terminated.
  31. How much can I pay an attorney for referring business to me? Nothing. Florida Statutes 648.44(1) prohibits paying an attorney to refer business to you or your agency. This statute also prohibits a bail bond agent from advising defendants to use a particular attorney or law firm.
  32. What can I do to compensate an inmate for referring business to me? Nothing. Florida Statutes 648.44(1)(b) prohibits indirectly soliciting defendants on the grounds of the jail.
  33. What are the laws regarding the types of badges I can use? The only statute that addresses this is 648.44(1)(d), which limits the identification a limited surety agent may wear on the grounds of a jail, courthouse, or any other area where prisoners are confined to the identification issued by the Department of Financial Services. In addition, the use of a badge by a bail bond agent is regulated the same as any other Florida citizen in Chapter 843, F.S. Specifically, 843.085 speaks to the use of badges or any other indicia of authority.
  34. May I meet with the indemnitor at the jail to write the bail bond paperwork? No. You may only conduct bail bond business with the defendant on the grounds of the jail or courthouse for the purpose of executing a bail bond. [See Florida Statutes 648.44(1)(p)]
  35. Can I use an outside bail bond agent to assist with performing apprehensions or pick-ups? Yes. However, the agent you select must be a licensed and appointed bail bond agent.
  36. When you talk about the appointed bail bond agent, do they ahve to be appointed with the same insurance company? Yes. The power to arrest comes from the bail bond that was written to release a person from jail. The company that issued the bond is the one with the power to make the arrest. The company contracts with their own agents to act on the company's behalf. If the bail bond agent is not appointed to represent the company that issued the bail bond, then the bail bond agent may not be authorized by that company to pick-up their defendant. There is an exception in that the company may provide written permission to a law enforcement officer or any licensed bail bond agent who is appointed to represent at least one company in Florida.
  37. How about out of state bail bond agents making an arrest in Florida for an out of state case? Out of state agents have very limited powers in Florida, which are granted by the very old (1872) Supreme Court Case, Taylor v. Taintor (83 U.S. 366), and not by Florida law. This law provides that a bail bond agent may enter another state to locate a defendant who was released on a bail bond written by that bail bond agent. If the bail bond agent did not write the bail bond, then they are not authorized to make an arrest. In addition, the bail bond agent must comply with other laws governing the transporting of prisoners across state lines. You are probably more familiar with these laws than us.
  38. Can I use a bounty hunter to assist with performing apprehensions or pick-ups? No. Bounty hunters are not permitted in Florida. (See Florida Statutes 648.30)
  39. How do I update my addresses? There are currently two ways. Visit “My Profile”  to access your personal license record with the department, or submit the change of address form (#DFS-H2-1564) located on the forms page of their website by mailing it to:

    Florida Department of Financial Services
    Division of Agent & Agency Services
    Bureau of Licensing
    200 E. Gaines Street
    Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0318
  40. How much of the bail bond premium goes to my build-up fund account? This will depend on your contract with your MGA or surety company. The Florida Statutes do state the maximum amount to be 40% of the premium.
  41. Can a bail bond agent carry a weapon when conducting an apprehension? Neither the temporary bail bond agent license nor the limited surety (bail bond) agent license authorize a person to carry a weapon. The Florida Statutes do not specifically address bail bond agents using weapons while working.

    Weapon permits are issued through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These permits are issued to qualifying citizens of the state of Florida. You will need to follow the laws related to the issuance of your permits, which include not carrying your weapon in certain locations [See Section 790.06(12), Florida Statutes for a complete listing]. You may want to direct any questions you have regarding your permits to them. Their web site is http://www.doacs.state.fl.us.
  42. Do the Florida Statutes prohibit an attorney from owning a bail bond agency, since an attorney cannot be a bail bond agent? Yes. Florida Statutes 648.285 specifies the requirements to own a bail bond agency. This statute requires the owner to be a licensed and appointed bail bond agent. Since an attorney cannot be a licensed bail bond agent they would not be allowed to be a bail bond agency owner.
  43. What if I have other questions not listed above? Questions may be emailed to BailBond@MyFloridaCFO.com.
 
 
 
Bail Agents Independent League of Florida                    112 E. Forsyth Street Jacksonville, FL 32202                    Phone: 904.358.1905                
All Rights Reserved.  Designed & Hosted by My Web Consultant