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Bail bondsmen serving as bounty hunters in Washington, DC are just as tightly regulated as in most states, however attaining and maintaining a license does not require candidates to pass a licensing exam or complete any continuing education requirements following licensure. Bail bondsmen in the District do need to provide a comprehensive application packet to the courts in order to obtain licensure, however.
You must complete the following steps to become licensed as a bail bondsman in Washington, DC and serve as your own bounty hunter in the event that clients skip town:
|Meet Washington, DC Eligibility Requirements and Complete your Education|
|Apply for your Washington, DC License|
|Join a Bail Bonds Company in Washington, DC|
Washington, DC’s bail bond system has undergone significant changes since the 1960’s. After a highly critical report detailing how most detainees in Washington jails were pretrial defendants who could not afford bail, the system was revamped and the DC Pretrial Services Agency was established. The DC Pretrial Services Agency worked closely with felony defendants to produce bail recommendations.
This has helped produce a scenario where non-financial release is available as an alternative to using money for bail.
Because non-financial release options are widely available In Washington, DC, the financial bail bonds industry is virtually non-existent. Still – some bail bondsmen are in practice. DC law implies that the authority to arrest bail jumpers lies with those licensed as bail bondsmen, so bail bondsmen effectively serve as their own bail bond recovery agents, rather than contracting with independent bounty hunters.
Unlike most U.S. states, bail bondsmen in Washington, DC are not licensed by an administrative office like a department of insurance. Instead, they are licensed through one of two courts:
- The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
- The Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Step 1. Meet Washington, DC Eligibility Requirements
In order to become a bail bondsman in Washington, DC, candidates must possess the following qualifications:
- Must provide a comprehensive list of agents, clerks and representatives employed by the bail bondsman
- Must submit documentation verifying name, age and residence of the applicant
- Must submit list of all real estate owned by applicant
- Must submit list of all debts and obligations
- Must provide a detailed criminal history including all arrests, charges and convictions
- Must submit two character references from residents of the District of Columbia
- Must declare an oath stating the bondsman will not sell, convey or mortgage real estate without court authorization
- Submit a detail list of all surety obligations
- Submit fingerprints
The majority of bail professionals in the district do benefit from some type of college education. As servants of the courts in a financial position, most bail bondsmen find the most benefit in having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in finance, law, criminal justice, economics or business administration.
Step 2. Apply for a District of Columbia Bail Bondsman License
In order to obtain a license as a bail bondsman in the District of Columbia, you must file paperwork with the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia or the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. This paperwork should include:
- A signed and completed application
- A detailed list of all clerks, agents and representatives in the employ of the candidate including age, name and residence
- Two recommendations of good moral character from residents of the District of Columbia
- Duplicate copy of application from anyone who holds power of attorney from the applicant
- A detailed criminal history of all arrests, charges and convictions
- A detailed list of all real estate owned by the applicant in Washington, D.C. including address, lot, purchase price, and date of title; all liens on property must be declared
- A detailed list of all financial debts and obligations
There is no licensing fee required to become a bail bondsman, but there may be legal fees to be paid to file the necessary documents. By signing the application, the bail bondsman tacitly declares not to sell, convey or mortgage real estate which may come into the ownership of the applicant without approval from the presiding court.
Step 3. Join a Bail Bonds Company in Washington, DC
Many bail bondsman who are newly licensed choose to join an existing bail company in order to gain experience and establish business relationships with insurance or other financial companies. Some of the most notable bail companies in the Washington, DC area where jobs may be found include:
- Steven Mehr Bail Bonds
- Kingdom Bail
- Glascoe Bail Bonds
- Darkrain Bail Bonds
In order to continue practicing as a bail bondsman, you must renew your license by filing a renewal application by January 10 of each year. This application must be accompanied by a detailed list of surety obligations.
To join a professional bail bondsman organization, please contact the Professional Bail Agents of the United States.