The steps to becoming a bail bondsman in West Virginia are as follows:
|Meet Basic Licensing Requirements in West Virginia|
|Contact your West Virginia County for Licensing Requirements|
|Complete Education and Training in West Virginia|
|Contact Employers in West Virginia|
|Start Work as a Bail Bondsman in West Virginia|
Bail bondsmen take responsibility for funding defendants that cannot afford their own bail. Frequently, they are backed up by an insurance policy for doing so. If the defendants do not appear in court and forfeit their bail, bail bondsmen attempt to track them down to recover the costs of the bail. Frequently, they do this by employing bounty hunters, known in West Virginia as bail bond enforcers.
In West Virginia, the official definition of bail bondsman in Chapter 51 Article 10 A of the state’s code is a person, corporation or person who is engaged for profit in any of the following to get people to appear in court who have been charged with violating the law or having a criminal offense:
- Furnishing bail
- Entering into undertakings as surety (taking responsibility for the person’s payment of their bail)
- Making bonds
Step 1. Meet the Requirements to Obtain a West Virginia License
There are two requirements to become a bail bondsman in West Virginia according to Chapter 51 Article 10 of West Virginia’s legal code. They are:
- Not have been convicted an offense involving moral turpitude
- Being of good moral character
Step 2. Contact your West Virginia County for Licensing Requirements
Although regulating and prescribing qualifications for bail bondsmen was transferred to the Insurance Commissioner in 2010 in West Virginia state code 33-2-23, as of 2013, there are currently no statewide regulations to become a bail bondsman.
Some counties in West Virginia require a license to become a bail bondsman, while others do not. You will need to contact your county to determine if you need a license and to determine what the requirements to get one are.
Step 3. Complete Education and Training in West Virginia
Although there are no statewide educational or training requirements to become a bail bondsman in West Virginia, doing so is a complex matter. You would be well advised to obtain training before you start work as a bail bondsman. You may want to take some courses in business management, since you will be operating a financial business.
Other options are to obtain formal training in criminal justice. This will help you navigate the legal system as you pursue fugitives or retain bail bond enforcers to do so for you. An associate’s or bachelor’s degree should help to provide training in this area.
Step 4. Contact Employers in West Virginia
When you first start out, you may want to work for a bail bonding company before you consider branching out on your own. There are several prominent bail bonding companies in West Virginia that hire bail bondsmen including:
- West Virginia Bonds
- Steven Mehr Bail Bonds
- AAA Bail Yes Bonding Agency
- 1st Action Bail Bonds
Step 5. Start Work as a Bail Bondsman in West Virginia
Once you have tracked down a fugitive, you will have to fulfill a stringent legal requirement before you can take them into custody. State code 62-1C-14 requires that you do your best to obtain a bailpiece before doing so. This is a certificate that states the accused in a particular case has bail and what the amount is. You obtain a bailpiece from the court, clerk, or magistrate who is overseeing the case.
If you cannot obtain one first, you are allowed to take the offender to jail if you:
- Appear on the registered list that the jail maintains
- Have been approved by the court which had the original jurisdiction
You must then apply for a bailpiece on the next judicial day following the fugitive’s intake. The penalties for not doing this are severe and can result in your being charged with a misdemeanor. If you are convicted, you could be prohibited from doing business in the state, fined up to $1000, and jailed for up to one year.