There are many factors that come into play, when one is considering to become a bail bondsman. To start working as one, you need to know the working of the…
Here’s What Your Role and Salary Will Be As a Bail Bondsman
If you are looking for salary figures of a bail bondsman, this write-up may offer some help in that matter. Going through this article will provide you with an insight into what kind of remuneration is earned by these professionals.
On an average, over the course of a year, about USD 14 billion worth of bonds are issued by bail bondsmen in USA.
Strange business opportunities can arise from the peculiarities of the rule of law in a country. One of the opportunistic careers emerging out of the American justice system, is that of the bail bondsman.
What is the Role of a Bail Bondsman?
When a person is booked and arrested for a crime, he has to appear before a judge, in a courtroom, where the arrest charges against him and his plea (guilty or not guilty) is heard. In most cases, irrespective of what he pleads, a court trial is in the offing.
The date for trial, due to the process of gathering evidence and preparation, can take months or even years, in some cases. Ergo, the judge must decide, whether or not to allow the accused to be released until the trial begins. Depending on the seriousness of the charge, a bail amount is declared by the judge. That bail amount must be paid. The condition is stated thus, if the accused does not return to court on the set trial date, he is liable to forfeit the whole bail amount. Generally, the families of the accused are unable to pay the bail amount and that’s where the bail bond and the bail bondsman come into the picture.
The accused, who is standing trial, may opt for the bail bonds process, to secure temporary release. When the accused or family of the accused approaches a bondsman, he arranges for a special kind of bond called the bail bond, which secures the temporary release of the accused till trial. These special types of bonds are actually surety bonds that guarantee the payment of the entire bail amount to the court, in the event that the accused does not honor the conditions of his release on bail. They arrange for the payment of bail amount by either pledging assets, blanket bonds, or cash.
In return for taking the responsibility of being a guarantor, they charge a fee to the accused, which is generally around 10% to 15% of the set bail amount. Thus, the responsibility for return of the accused for trial, lies with the bondsman. On return of the accused to court on trial date, the bail amount may be refunded, after the case is over. A bondsman may work individually or work for a firm. The average salary is entirely dependent on the number of clients he ropes in, which in turn is dependent on his experience in the field. There is a high financial risk involved here, in case the accused that you are helping, is found absconding.
Salary of a Bail Bondsman
Before you start earning a salary, you must get a license to be a bondsman. There are certain conditions in every state, to become eligible for obtaining license from the department of insurance commissioner. This involves a thorough background check and coursework, followed by tests. Coaching for these tests is available. Once you clear those tests, an apprenticeship with a bail bonds dispensing firm is generally recommended, after which you can obtain a license. Later, you may choose to work with a firm or operate individually. With experience, a professional might earn extra percentage fees, in addition to a fixed salary, which pushes the yearly earnings higher.
The average salary, in firms may start from about USD 24,000 per year (boiling down to about USD 10 to USD 15 per hour). This may be a fixed salary or a form of commissions on jobs completed. These commissions are generally 10% to 15% of the total bail amount. This amount can increase with years of experience in the field. The average salary between 2009 and 2014 has hovered around USD 55,300. According to the data provided by the BLS (Bureau of Labor and Statistics), financial specialists like the bail bondsmen have earned an average of USD 67,020 in the year 2012.
Some of the states that turned out to be the best paymasters for the profession are District of Columbia and New York. Also, the major cities have comparatively better monetary returns to offer these professionals, with an average salary value above USD 60,000. Naturally, states and cities with a high crime rate are better earning grounds for them. Those who gain percentage fees besides a fixed salary, earn more.
In some states, the salaries of bail bond agents are restricted due to the authorities allowing only 10% of fees, on the bond amount, as compared to other states, where a 15% fee is allowed. Here are some salary figures from some states and cities in USA.
|State||Bail Bondsman Salary Range|
|Mississippi||USD 21,897-USD 32,845|
|Texas||USD 30,606-USD 45,908|
|New York||USD 38,891-USD 58,336|
The salary can be substantially upgraded when he/she starts operating independently and takes a much higher risk. It is a job that necessitates a trained eye for judging people and involves a lot of risk, due to interaction with charged criminals. The bail bondsmen have to personally hunt for the accused, in case he evades the trial and flees. This has given rise to the practice of hiring bounty hunters and has led to further crimes resulting from the same.
There has been a major uproar against this practice and this profession and some states (Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky and Oregon) have banned this practice entirely and courts have offered a facility to grant bail for the accused, on the payment of 10% of bail fees (with the liability of paying in full if bail conditions are not honored). This was done to eliminate the need for middlemen like the bail bondsmen. However, this practice continues in many US states and it is the only country in the world to allow this. Those who are willing to take the risk involved in this business, are known to earn a salary of USD 50,000 to about USD 150,000 in a year.
A strange profession, emerging out of the decisions of US judiciary, it offers opportunity for people who are willing to take the risk. The risk taken pays out well it seems and the bail bondsman salary has been observed to be on the rise with experience.