The steps to becoming a bail bondsman in Maryland are as follows:
|Work One Year for a Bail Insurer or Agent in Maryland|
|Apply for a Maryland License|
|Pass Mandatory Maryland Examination|
|Post a Maryland Surety Bond|
|Take Continuing Education Classes in Maryland|
According to the U.S. Institute for Economics and Peace, Maryland is the tenth most violent state in the nation. Maryland also consistently ranks in the top 10 of other statistical reports of state crime rates which means criminal courts are very busy places. Consequently, there is a great need for the services of bail bondsmen.
Even though there are no licensing or training requirements for becoming a bounty hunter in Maryland, the prerequisites for becoming a bail bondsman are very strict. Bail bondsmen in Maryland cannot operate without a license, which must be renewed every year.
Step 1. Work One Year for a Bail Insurer or Agent in Maryland
Before being allowed to apply for a license, prospective bail bondsmen must spend at least one of the last three years working directly for a bail insurer or agent. This experience provides a way to learn exactly how bail bondsmen conduct their business and keep records, all of which are regulated by state authorities.
During this time, it is not uncommon for bail bondsmen in Maryland to pursue the kind of education that would better prepare them for running a bail bonds company of their own. This may take the form of a undergraduate certificate in criminal justice, business classes, or a full degree program in areas as diverse as psychology, business, law or criminal justice.
Step 2. Apply for a License
It is necessary to meet the following qualifications in order to apply for a license:
- Meet work experience requirement
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a good moral character
- Have no criminal record
- Be knowledgeable about bail insurance
- Complete official application form
Applications can be acquired from and returned to the MARYLAND INSURANCE ADMINISTRATION, 200 St. Paul Place, Suite 2700, Baltimore, MD 21202; Tel: 410-468-2000 or 1-800-492-6116 (toll-free).
Step 3. Pass Mandatory Maryland Examination
A qualifying examination is administered by the state insurance commissioner. The time and place of the test will be given to the applicant on acceptance of his/her application. The exam questions test the applicant’s basic knowledge of the concept of bail bonds, federal and state bail laws, courtroom procedure, operation of a bail bonds business, etc. At the discretion of the Commissioner the examination can be waived for persons with many years of experience.
Step 4. Post a Maryland Surety Bond
Successful applicants are required to post a $10,000 surety bond from an insurance company as proof of financial responsibility.
Step 5. Take Continuing Education Classes in Maryland
Bail bonds agents with less than 25 years of experience must successfully complete 16 hours of continuing education every year in order to be eligible for license renewal. The continuing education requirement is reduced to eight hours/year for agents with more than 25 years of experience.
Bail Bondsmen at Work in Maryland
Maryland law gives bail bondsmen 90 days from the date a defendant fails to appear for his/her scheduled court appearance to either produce the fugitive or pay the penalty sum of the bond. The court can extend the time to 180 days if the bondsman shows good cause.
Licensed bail bonds agents in Maryland also obtain a “certificate of qualification” to operate as a property/casualty insurance agents. As such, they are subject to the laws and regulations governing property and casualty agents.
The earnings of a bail bondsman are flexible and depend upon the number of clients served. Bail bondsmen generally charge defendants 10 percent of the amount of the bail for their services. It is estimated that $25,000 is the average annual wage of a bail agent working in another bondsman’s office while bail bonds agents operating their own business earn an estimated $50,000 to $150,000 a year.