To join the Hawaii bail bondsman profession, candidates should complete the following steps:
|Complete educational and training requirements|
|Pass the state licensing exam|
|Apply for a Hawaii state license|
Hawaii strictly polices the bail bond industry through the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Insurance Division. This was evidenced in 2009, when the Hawaii Insurance Commissioner discovered that Monica Pacheco was operating an unlicensed bail agency after leaving her old bail company, resulting in her being issued a cease and desist order. While operating this illegal bail company, Ms. Pacheco appropriated cash collateral deposits and premium payments for her personal use in contravention of bail laws and regulations. The Hawaii Insurance Division revoked Ms. Pacheco’s bail bondsman license.
While the bail bond industry is not the largest in the country, there is still a substantial industry in this island state. According to the Honolulu Police Department and various Sheriff’s offices, there were almost 61,000 outstanding arrest warrants in the state in 2006. Many of these wanted fugitives are out on bail, so bail companies are essential the apprehension and return of these defendants.
There are approximately eight major bail bond companies with the most prominent being the Da Kine Bail Bonds which is owned and operated by Duane Chapman, more commonly known as Dog the Bounty Hunter. According to Da Kine, the company issued almost $10 million in surety bonds in 2005, with about 90 percent of the bond holders appearing in court without incident.
Step 1: Determine Eligibility
In order to serve as a Hawaii surety insurance agent or bail bondsman, candidates must possess the following qualifications:
- Must be 18 years of age or older
- Must pass the surety agent licensing exam
- Must provide a Hawaii residency address
- Must possess a General Excise Tax License
- Must provide fingerprints with a $40 criminal record check fee
Step 2: Complete Educational and Training Requirements
Due to the intricate and financial nature of the bail agreements that most bail bondsmen make with a defendant, a keen understanding of insurance, finance and contract law can be helpful. The most common college degrees held by bail bondsmen include associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in business administration, economics, finance or law. A small group of Hawaiian bail bondsmen may possess advanced degrees like a MBA or PhD.
More importantly, a collegiate education can help candidates better prepare for the rigors of the Hawaii Surety Exam. This exam includes questions on
- Contract principles
- Fidelity and surety contracts
- Purpose and type of surety bonds
- Bail bonds
There are a variety of colleges and private schools which offer pre-licensing courses which can help candidates understand these exam topics and prepare for taking the exam.
Step 3: Pass the Hawaii Surety Exam
The Hawaii Surety Exam is offered through the independent test provider, Pearson Vue. Applicants must pay the $75 with a credit card or electronic payment when applying for the exam. The application for this exam may be found here. This 35 multiple choice exam must be completed within one hour and with a score of 75 percent or higher to pass. Candidates may retake the exam if they fail, but must pay the exam fee for each attempt.
Step 4: Apply for a Hawaii State License
Bail bondsmen in Hawaii are officially termed surety insurance agents and must complete the following procedure to earn a license:
- Submit a signed and completed license application
- Provide the licensing fee (which may be $300 or $400 depending on the month) payable to Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
- Provide score report from Hawaii Surety Exam
- Provide fingerprints and the $17 fingerprint fee in the form of a major credit card
The license issued is good for up to three years. In order to qualify for license renewal, bail bondsmen must pay a $200 license renewal fee and complete 24 hours of continuing education within the licensure period.
Step 5: Find Employment
Newly licensed bail bondsmen may seek to add to their knowledge of the bail bond industry by joining an existing bail company. Some of the most notable bail companies in Hawaii include
- Da Kine Bail Bonds
- Aloha Bail Bonds
- AAA Bail Bonds
To join a professional bail bondsman association, contact the Professional Bail Agents of the United States.