Learning how to become a bail bondsman in Mississippi proceeds through these four steps:
|Ensure you Meet the Minimum Qualifications in Mississippi|
|Preparatory Education in Mississippi|
|Apply for a Professional Bail Agent License from the Mississippi Insurance Department|
|Go to Work in Mississippi|
Bail bondsmen – also known as professional bail agents – are there to help. A significant number of those involved in the nearly 25 thousand criminal cases last year turned to professional bail agents for a contract that would get them out of jail while their case was pending in exchange for paying a certain percentage of their bail amount, usually around 10 percent. Bail agents allow defendants to continue with their community, family, and employment activities until justice is served.
Arrests are frequently made in Mississippi for drunk driving and domestic violence- crimes that cut across socio-economic lines and affect everyone from the wealthy to the unemployed. Last year Mississippi circuit courts dealt with 24,917 criminal cases. That means criminal about one in every 90 Mississippi adults is involved in some stage of adjudication.
Step 1. Meeting the Minimum Qualifications in Mississippi
Meeting the Mississippi bail bondsmen license requirements is the first step you will need to accomplish on the road to becoming a professional bail agent. These include:
- Must have been licensed as a soliciting bail agent during the previous consecutive three years
- May not work in a county where a relative is employed as a corrections officer, judicial official or law enforcement agent
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Have not been convicted of crimes of moral turpitude or felonies
- May not be employed in law enforcement, the judiciary, or as an attorney
- May not be employed as a correctional officer in a facility where inmates are bailable
Step 2. Preparatory Education in Mississippi
Going into the bail bondsman business is by default going into the insurance business. Although there are no official Mississippi bail bondsman school or degree requirements, it is highly recommended that you have an academic foundation in your new career field.
Educational training for bail bondsman jobs in Mississippi can involve certification and degrees in the following subjects:
- Business, especially with a focus on insurance
- Criminal justice
You must also complete at least 40 hours of prelicensing education that is approved by the Mississippi Bail Agents Association (MBAA).
At this point you should be searching for an insurance company that will sponsor you for restricted lines of bail, fidelity, and surety- a process you can start by simply talking with local insurance companies. To become sponsored you will need to pass a Mississippi Insurance Department examination and submit a Limited Surety Appointment Form provided by the insurance company to the Department.
Step 3. Applying for a Professional Bail Agent License in Mississippi
The Mississippi Insurance Department is in charge of licensing all professional bail agents in the state. You should submit the following as part of a complete application:
- License Application for Professional Bail Agent
- $100 privilege tax (application fee)
- Set of fingerprints and a $50 fee
- Proof of:
- 40 hours of prelicensing education
- Completion of insurance examination
- $30,000 security deposit or Safekeeping Receipt with the Mississippi Insurance Department (if applying as a personal surety agent)
Once licensed as a professional bail agent, you will need to meet certain requirements for renewal, which must be completed by the last day of September of odd-numbered years. These are:
- 16 hours of continuing education – not required for the first year in business
- Submit a yearly report due June first each year to the Insurance Department
Step 4. Going to Work in Mississippi
After becoming fully licensed you will be ready to go into business on your own or as part of a bail bondsman agency. As a licensed professional bail agent you will be able to contract or hire soliciting bail agents who will procure business on your behalf and bail enforcement agents – also known as bounty hunters – who will return your clients to the custody of the court when they have become fugitives of justice, ensuring you will not be held liable for their bail bond.
In addition to providing information about education requirements, the Mississippi Bail Agents Association (MBAA) can also be a good resource for networking with colleagues and staying up-to-date on the latest industry news.