Who is a bail agent?
A bail agent is a private businessperson, who is licensed by the N.C. Department of Insurance for the purpose of posting bail for individuals in jail.
What is a bail bond?
A bail bond is the legal instrument or contract which releases an individual from custody. The bail bond also ties contractually, the state, the bail agent and the defendant together.
How does a bail agent get paid?
A bail agent is paid a regulated fee that does not exceed a 15 percent maximum by the individual or someone on his behalf.
Do I get the premium or bond fee back?
The only money returned is collateral when required by the bail agent in certain cases.
How will I know when my case is over and my liability ends?
Your liability ends when a final disposition is entered by the state and no appeal is pending.
When is collateral required?
Collateral may be required when someone has few ties if any to the area which he is required to appear in court, or has a past record of missing court.
When is the collateral returned?
After the bail agent has received written notification from the court that the case is over and the bond is no longer in effect.
Are bail bonding companies allowed to use my collateral?
No, the collateral has to be placed in safekeeping or in a trust account.
If I sign for an individual and this person can not be located, am I liable?
Yes, you would have signed a binding contract and are therefore financially responsible for the amount of the bond. If the person out on bond forfeits the bond by not showing up for court and they cannot be found within the five months, then the full face value of the bond is your financial responsibility and is due on demand.
What does a bail agent do?
A bail agent is involved from the point of arrest until the case is disposed, regardless of the length of time it takes. The bail agent not only gets a person out of jail, but must keep up with each court date both in district and superior courts. The bail agent must make sure his client appears for each court date and the bail agent is required to know the whereabouts of the client at all times.
If a court date is missed, the bail agent must locate the client. The bail agent will help the client obtain a new court date when an honest mistake is made. If needed, the bail agent will travel to all fifty states in order to return a client back to the court system. North Carolina bail agents have a return rate of 97.8 percent.
Does the use of private bail cost the taxpayers anything?
The private bail industry operates at no cost to the taxpayers. There is no exact number of the defendants the average bail agent in North Carolina produces for court each year. However, according to the court accepted formula provided by tax-paid pretrial release programs, the suggested low estimate amounts to $2 billion or more in savings to the state’s taxpayers per year.
Is a bail agent a bounty hunter?
No, the State of North Carolina does not recognize bounty hunters. All North Carolina bail agents that are licensed in this state must arrest their own clients. North Carolina bail agents are allowed to use bounty hunters when working in other states.
Why private bail?
The North Carolina Bail Agents Association believes that, unlike government pretrial release programs that are taxpayer funded, private bail agents are more effective in insuring that defendants return for their court date. In fact, the percent of defendants who were fugitives after one year ranged from 10% for unsecured bond releases to 3% of those released on surety bonds.
Our state’s bail agents provide their services at no cost to the taxpayer and at the same time, save taxpayers money by reducing jail overcrowding. A system dedicated to monitoring defendants with the authority to produce them to the court, is a system that the NCBAA believes strengthens the overall justice system. By working diligently to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court, bail agents are able to generate an actual cost-saving benefit for our state’s citizens.
Pretrial misconduct rates are high for emergency releases. About half (52%) of the 1% of defendants released under an emergency order to relieve jail crowding were charged with some type of misconduct.