Despite the somewhat renegade image that people outside the profession have of the bail bonds industry, there are very strict state and federal laws that must be adhered to in order to post bonds for convicted criminals, and then recover fugitives if they fail to make their court appearances. One of the most rudimentary of these laws is that the bondsman must be licensed by the state in which the bonds are being posted.
One man in Graham, North Carolina, however, was convicted of taking compensation in exchange for posting bond for people. The 61-year-old defendant was convicted of two counts of accepting money or property in exchange for bailing people out of jail. The charge is a misdemeanor in the state of North Carolina.
The court documents in the case accuse the defendant of acting “in the capacity of a professional bondsman” without a state license on two separate occasions. The violations occurred in August of 2012 and then again in November of that same year. He received about $200 in one of the cases and was promised payment of an undisclosed amount at a later date in the other for posting bail for two inmates at the Alamance County jail.
Both charges were amalgamated into a single suspended sentence of 45 days and the defendant was given an additional 18 months of probation. He also was ordered to pay a fine of $200 as well as court costs, ordered not to post any bonds for anyone in the future except for members of his immediate family, and ordered not to apply for a bail bondsman license.
Bail bondsman are not required in order to bail someone out of jail, but at the same time the legal system does not allow bond to be posted by just anyone with enough money. Under law, the person posting bond, if he or she is not a licensed bail bondsman, must have a vested interest in the incarcerated individual such as a family member or someone with whom the individual has a significant relationship such as an employer or business partner.