Bail bond professionals in Georgia must complete the following steps to obtain licensure
|Meet eligibility requirements
|Fulfill education and training requirements
|Pass the licensing exam
|Apply for a license
|Go to work for a bail company
Although bail bondsmen in Georgia are licensed through a state agency, they must also receive approval for licensing from their local county government. This is in part due to state laws that mandate certain requirements regarding age, criminal history and residency as well as good standing with the government of the county of residence. In order to maintain this good standing, various counties in the state have enacted a variety of regulations regarding bail bonds. This approval must be provided by the county sheriff’s office and often results in a close relationship between these law enforcement organizations and bail companies.
In Georgia, bail bonds are enforced and overseen by county sheriff’s organizations. By state law, a bail company may charge up to 12 percent for bail bonds $10,000 or less, while up to 15 percent for bonds more than $10,000. For minor offenses involving $1,000 or less in bail, a defendant’s driver’s license may be used as collateral.
Although standing is determined by county agencies, bail bonds professionals are still regulated and licensed primarily by the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner. Bail bondsmen are officially termed casualty insurance agents.
Step 1. Meet Eligibility Requirements
There are two parts to ensuring candidates meet eligibility requirements in Georgia. The first requires that prospective bail bondsmen meet state mandated requirements including:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must be a resident of Georgia for at least one year
- Must not have been convicted of a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Must complete a 40 hour pre-licensing course
- Must pass a written bail bonds exam
The second part involves compliance with county regulatory requirements. Each county has its own requirements which may be learned by contacting that county’s sheriff’s office.
Step 2. Fulfill Educational and Training Requirements
The bail bondsman profession in Georgia is primarily a financial one, with bondsmen issuing bonds based on several risk factors like collateral, flight risk and co-signers. While the state does not mandate that bail bondsman possess a college education, it is often of benefit to complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program in finance, law, economics or business administration. Some counties in Georgia also require that candidates complete a criminal justice course prior to licensure.
In Georgia, the standard pre-licensing preparatory course is the Georgia Property and Casualty Pre-licensing Course. This is a 40 hour course approved by the state and offered through a variety of colleges, academies and online schools. This course covers topics including
- Insurance concepts
- Contract law
Step 3. Pass the Georgia Property and Casualty Insurance Exams
In order to become licensed as a bail bondsman in Georgia, candidates must take and pass the two hour Georgia Property and Casualty Insurance exam. This exam is offered through Pearson Vue, an independent test provider, and applicants may sign up for the exam here. The fee for this exam is $42 and candidates must score a 70 percent to pass. If a candidate fails to pass the exam, they may re-take the test until they pass.
Step 4. Apply for a Georgia State License
To become a licensed bail bondsman in Georgia, candidates must complete these steps:
- Submit a signed, completed Casualty Insurance Agent License Application
- Provide a $115 license fee in a check or money order made payable to the Georgia Insurance Department
- Provide a notarized Citizenship Affidavit Form
- Provide copy of identification
- Provide certificate of completion of 40 hour pre-licensing course
- Provide score report from property and casualty licensing exam
This license is good for two years, during which time the bail bondsman must complete at least eight hours of continuing education to qualify for license renewal.
Step 5. Go to Work for a Bail Company
The majority of newly licensed bail bondsmen join an existing company before beginning their own company. Working for an existing bail company allows bail professionals to become acquainted with the industry and develop contacts with insurance companies who underwrite bail bonds. Some of the most important bail companies in Georgia are
- Second Chance Bail Bonds
- Free at Last Bail Bonds
- All Out Bail Bonding
In order to establish a company, bail bondsmen must obtain approval from county sheriff’s offices.
To join a professional bail bondsman association in Georgia, please visit the Georgia Association of Professional Bondsman.