Bail bondsman serve an important financial and public safety function within the US criminal justice system. Yet, many people don’t understand exactly what it is that they do. Read on for the top questions about Allegheny County bail bonds and bail bondsmen.

What Does a Bail Bondsman Do?

A bail bondsman provides financial services to defendants involved in the criminal justice system. When a defendant is arrested, he or she is remanded into state custody and detained in jail while awaiting trial. Shortly after arrest, a defendant appears before a judge to determine the amount of his or her bail. Bail is an amount of money that is paid to the court to guarantee a defendant’s return for upcoming trial dates. When a defendant cannot pay this entire amount, he can use the services of a bail bondsman, who will issue a surety bond to the court for a fee.

In addition to securing release for defendants, some bail bondsmen offer other services, such as fugitive location.

What are the Job Qualifications for a Bail Bondsman?

The educational qualifications for becoming a bail bondsman vary from state to state. In all states, however, a bail agent must be old enough to enter into a legal contract and have a GED or high school diploma. Although most states do not require a college degree, many bondsmen choose to take college-level classes in criminal justice, finance or business.

Additionally, all bail agents must complete a state-specific pre-licensure course and pass a licensing examination. Once licensed, an agent is authorized to issue surety bonds to the court on behalf of clients.

Those considering a career as a bail agent may also want to consider the fact that starting a bail bonds business requires a substantial amount of money to cover the initial bonds. Bail agents may work as agency employees or as proprietors of their own bail bonding business.