After being apprehended for a crime, you'll be processed and may be sent to the local jail. In most instances, you'll get the opportunity to get out of jail as you wait for your trial. To be released, you'll be required to post the total amount of cash needed for the bond or use real estate as collateral.
In many cases, defendants lack the entire amount of their bond, and they turn to a local bail bonds service. A bondsman, bail agent, or bond dealer guarantees a defendant's appearance to court and promises to pay the entire bond amount if the defendant fails to show up.
There are around 14,000 bail bond agents across the U.S. Most states require these agents to be licensed and meet specific education requirements. The rights of bond bail agents are often confusing, especially among defendants who miss court days.
Can a Bondsman Make an Arrest?
Yes, a bondsman can arrest you. Bond dealers often require a defendant to check-in in person or through the telephone to ensure they'll show up in court. In extreme cases, the bondsman can even hire a guard to watch the accused.
In case the defendant doesn't show up for their trial, the court will issue a warrant and a notice of forfeiture of their bail bonds. Subsequently, the court clerk will inform the bail agent of the situation. Depending on the state, the bail bonding company will be given a time period to forfeit the bond amount. However, the court will strike the forfeiture order if the bondsman produces the defendant before the deadline.
Keep in mind that a bail agent will be motivated to find you because they stand to lose money. Bond dealers have the right to pursue the defendant into any residence to make an arrest. Unlike government agents, bail agents don't require a warrant, and they can detain you for as long as is needed to hand you over to authorities. However, the bondsman must have the proper paperwork to identify their authority when pursuing a fugitive.
Bond Dealers and Bounty Hunters
Bondsmen are allowed to hire bounty hunters or skip tracers to track down defendants. The bounty hunter will act on the bondsman's authority to pursue and return fugitives to the authorities. Since they only get paid if they return the defendants, bounty hunters are often very motivated.
The activities of bounty hunters aren't strictly regulated on both state and federal levels. However, bounty hunters in some areas are required to be in clothing that identifies their profession. Some states will have additional restrictions for professionals who find themselves crossing state lines in search of fugitives. For more information, contact a bail bonds agency.