Bail Bond Agent Licensure

4/23/2013

Bail Bond Agent LicensureThe most common way defendants satisfy the financial condition of their bail is through an arrangement with a bail agent in the commercial bond industry.

A bail agent, also referred to in states as a surety bondsman or professional bondsman, is a person who, for financial gain, guarantees a defendant’s appearance to the court and promises to pay the full financial amount of bond if the defendant fails to appear or otherwise triggers forfeiture.

States often require licenses for professional bail agents to practice in the commercial bail industry. Thirty-seven states have licensing requirements for bail agents and four prohibit commercial bond all together. In all but a few states, a state agency is responsible for regulating bond agents and their licensing. Often an insurance department or commission has this responsibility, while a few states use a financial services agency or the judicial branch for this function. 

Common state requirements for bail agent licensure include reaching a certain age, paying a fee, passing an exam, completing education requirements, and submitting a criminal background check. There are additional prohibitions against employment in specified professions, most commonly judicial officers, members of law enforcement and attorneys.

To maintain licenses, bail agents generally must meet continuing education requirements, pay renewal fees and abstain from committing enumerated criminal offenses. For example, most states will not issue nor renew a license to those who commit a felony, a crime of moral turpitude or offenses involving misappropriation of money or property.

The chart below provides information on licensure requirements of persons who are authorized to issue bail bonds, either as an individual or under the auspices of a bail bond company.

Return to Pretrial Policy Homepage

Bail Bond Agent Licensure
State and Statute Title of Licensed Entity Regulating Entity Requirements Prohibited Criminal Activity Prohibited Persons / Professions
Age State Residency Exam Education Criminal Background Check
Alabama
§ 15-13-22
§ 15-13-159
§ 15-13-160
§ 15-13-101
Professional Bondsman The Alabama Department of Insurance   X       Felony; crimes of moral turpitude. Enumerated judicial officials; attorney; person authorized to accept an appearance bond.
Alaska
§ 21.27.150
§ 21.27.020
§ 21.27.060
Bail Bond Limited Producer The Director of the Alaska Division of Insurance X
18+
X X     Act that is a cause for denial or revocation of a bondsman license.  
Arizona
§ 20-340.01
 
Bail Bond Agent Director of Insurance of the State of Arizona   X X   X Theft; felony; carrying, illegal use or possession of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. Law enforcement; court officials; attorneys; officials authorized to admit to bail; state and county officers.

Arkansas
§ 17-19-201
 
 

 


 
§ 17-19-110

Professional Bail Bondsman

 

 

 

 

Bail Bond Agent

The Professional Bail Bond Company and Professional

 

 

Bail Bondsman Licensing Board.
 None specified

 

X

 

 

 

 

 


X

X X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

Felony; crime of moral turpitude.

Attorney; court officials; sheriff; law enforcement officials

 


Attorney; court officials; sheriff; law enforcement officials

California
Ins. Code § 1802
 
 

 

 

 

 
Ins. Code § 1802.5
 
 
 
 

 


Ins. Code § 1803

Bail Agent
Bail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permittee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bail Solicitor

California Department of Insurance Commissioner

 

 

 

 


California Department of Insurance Commissioner

 

 

 


California Department of Insurance Commissioner
 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


X

 

 

 

 

 

 


X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


X

 

 

 

 

 

 


X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


X

 

 

 

 

 

 


X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 

Enumerated misdemeanor or felony; crimes which involve a misappropriation of money or property.

 


Enumerated misdemeanor or felony; crimes which involve a misappropriation of money or property.


Enumerated misdemeanor or felony; crimes which involve a misappropriation of money or property.

Colorado
§ 10-23-101
 
§ 10-23-102
 
 
§ 10-2-415.5;
§ 10-2-418
 
 
Cash-Bonding Agent Colorado Division of Insurance              
Professional Cash-Bail Agent Colorado Division of Insurance              
Insurance Producer/Bail Bond Agent Colorado Division of Insurance              
Connecticut
§ 29-145
 
 
§ 38a-660
Professional Bondsman Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection         X Felony Law enforcement or others with police powers.
Surety Bail Bond Agent Connecticut Insurance Commissioner X
18+
X
U.S. citizen
X   X Felony; enumerated misdemeanors. Law enforcement or others with police powers.
 
Delaware
18 Del. C. § 4332
Bail Agent Delaware Department of Insurance X
18+
X X       Jailers; police officers; any person acting in a judicial capacity'; sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and constables; attorneys or persons employed in an attorney’s office; any person having the power to arrest or having anything to do with the control of federal, state, county or municipal prisoners; enumerated prison officials.
Florida
§ 648.27;
§ 648.34
 
 
 
§ 648.34;
§ 648.35
 
 
 
§ 648.355
 
 
 
 
 
Bail Bond Agent Florida Department of Financial Services X
18+
X
U.S. citizen, legal alien, state resident
X X X Felony; crimes involving moral turpitude; crimes punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more.  
Professional Bail Bond Agent Florida Department of Financial Services              
Temp. limited license as Limited Surety Agent or Professional Bail Bond Agent Florida Department of Financial Services X
18+
X   X X Felony; crimes involving moral turpitude; crimes punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more.  
Georgia
§ 17-6-50
Professional Bondsmen The sheriff of the county in which the bonding business is conducting business X
18+
X   X X Felony; crimes involving moral turpitude.  
Hawaii
No statute located
                 
Idaho
§ 41-1037
Bail Agent Idaho Department of Insurance              
Illinois
725 §§ 5/103-9,
5/110-7, 5/110-8
Commercial Bondsmen Prohibited
Indiana
§  27-10-3-1
Bail Agent Indiana Department of Insurance X
18+
X X X   Felony/release from supervision in the past 10 years; misdemeanor / release from supervision in the past 5 years. Jailers; law enforcement officers; judges; enumerated prison officials.
Iowa
No statute located
                 
Kansas
No statute located
                 
Kentucky    
§ 431.510
Commercial Bondsmen Prohibited
Louisiana
R.S. 22:1556;
R.S. 22:1584;
R.S. 22:1571
 
Bail Bond Producer Louisiana Department of Insurance X
18+
X X X   Felony; participation in a pretrial diversion program pursuant to a felony charge; misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or public corruption.  
Maine
No statute located
                 
Maryland
MD Rules 16-817;
Ins. Code §§ 10-304, 305
Bail Bondsman None specified X
18+
           
Massachusetts
276 § 61B
Professional Bondsman The Superior Court or a Justice thereof.              
Michigan
No statute located
                 
Minnesota
Prac., Rule 702
Bond Producers Minnesota State Court Administrator's Office              
 
Mississippi
§ 83-39-3
 
 
 
 
§ 83-39-7
Professional Bail Agent Mississippi Department of Insurance X
21+
    X X Felony; crime involving moral turpitude. Law enforcement or judicial official; attorney; enumerated prison officials.
Personal Surety Agent Mississippi Department of Insurance X
21+
  X X X Felony; crime involving moral turpitude. Law enforcement or judicial official; attorney; enumerated prison officials.
Missouri
§ 374.710
 
§ 374.710
§374.700 to 374.775
Bail Bond Agent The Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration of the State of Missouri       X      
General Bail Bond Agent The Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration of the State of Missouri     X X      
Montana
No statute located
                 
Nebraska
No statute located
                 
Nevada
§ 697.150
 
 
 
 
 
 
§ 697.170;
§ 697.260
Bail Agent Nevada Division of Insurance X
18+
X X X   Forgery; embezzlement; obtaining money under false pretenses; larceny; extortion; conspiracy to defraud; crime involving moral turpitude. Jailers; police officers; justices of the peace; municipal judges; sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and constables; any person with arrest power; enumerated prison officials.
Bail Solicitor Nevada Division of Insurance X
18+
X X X   Felony; offense involving moral turpitude; unlawful use, sale or possession of a controlled substance. Jailers; police officers; justices of the peace; municipal judges; sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and constables; any person with arrest power; enumerated prison officials.
New Hampshire
§ 597:7-b
Bail Agent None specified              
New Jersey
§17:31-10
Bail Agent New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance              
New Mexico
S. A. 1978, § 59A-51-3
 
 
 
S. A. 1978, § 59A-51-6
 
Bail Bondsman Superintendent of the New Mexico Division of Insurance X
18+
X
U.S. citizen
X X   Felony, with the exception of a conditional discharge of a felony conviction. Law enforcement, adjudication, jail, court or prosecution official or an employee thereof; attorney; official authorized to admit to bail; state or county officer.
Solicitor Superintendent of the New Mexico Division of Insurance X
18+
X
U.S. citizen
X X   Felony, with the exception of a conditional discharge of a felony conviction. Law enforcement, adjudication, jail, court or prosecution official or an employee thereof; attorney; official authorized to admit to bail; or state or county officer.
New York
McKinney's Insurance Law § 6802
Professional Bondsmen New York Superintendant of Insurance     X   X Offense involving moral turpitude; any crime.  
North Carolina
§ 58-71-40
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
§ 58-71-40
Professional Bondsman Commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Insurance X
18+
X X X X No current or prior enumerated violations. Sheriff, deputy sheriff, other law-enforcement officer; judicial official; attorney; parole officer; probation officer; jailer; assistant jailer; employee of the General Court of Justice; employee or spouse of employee  with criminal justice duties, those with commercial bond interests.
Surety Bondsman Commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Insurance X
18+
X X X   No current or prior enumerated violations. Sheriff, deputy sheriff, other law-enforcement officer; judicial official; attorney; parole officer; probation officer; jailer; assistant jailer; employee of the General Court of Justice; employee or spouse of employee  with criminal justice duties, those with commercial bond interests.
North Dakota
§ 26.1-26.6-01; § 26.1-26-03
Bail Bond Agent North Dakota Insurance Commissioner   X         Jailers; police officers; committing magistrates; magistrate court judges; sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and constables; any person with arrest powers or prison officials.
Ohio
§ 3905.84
Surety Bail Bond Agents The Ohio Department of Commerce and the Superintendent of Insurance. X
18+
X       If the person was convicted of a criminal offense, the nature of the offense, whether the conviction was based on acts or omissions taken under any professional license, whether the offense involved the breach of a fiduciary duty, the amount of time that has passed, and the person's activities subsequent to the conviction. Jailers or other persons employed in a detention facility; prisoners incarcerated in any jail, prison, or any other place used for the incarceration of persons; peace officers, including volunteer or honorary peace officers; employees of a law enforcement agency; committing magistrates; judges; employees of a court; employees of the clerk of any court; attorneys or any person employed at an attorney's office; any persons having the power to arrest; any persons who have authority over or control of, federal, state, county, or municipal corporation prisoners.
 
Oklahoma
59 Okl. St. Ann. § 1306
 
 
 
59 Okl. St. Ann. § 1301
Surety Bondsman Insurance Commissioner of the State of Oklahoma X
21+
    X   Felony; misdemeanor involving dishonesty or moral turpitude. Jailers; police officers; committing judges; municipal or district court judges; prisoners; sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and any person having the power to arrest or prison officials; enumerated alcohol- based businesses.
Professional Bondsman Insurance Commissioner of the State of Oklahoma       X      
Oregon
§§ 135.255, .260, .265
Commercial Bondsmen Prohibited
Pennsylvania
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5742
Professional Bondsmen Pennsylvania Insurance Department           Criminal offense Law enforcement officer; employee of a penal institution, or any who derives profit from bondsmen.
Rhode Island
§ 12-13-21, Superior Court Professional Bondsmen Rule 1
Professional Bondsman The Rhode Island Superior Court              
 
 
South Carolina
§ 38-53-90
 
 
 
 
§ 38-53-90
Professional Bondsman The South Carolina Director of the Department of Insurance X
18+
X X X   Felony; crime involving moral turpitude w/n the past 10 years. Sheriff, deputy sheriff, other law enforcement officer; judicial official; attorney; parole officer; probation officer; jailer; assistant jailer; employee of any court of this state.
Surety Bondsman The South Carolina Director of the Department of Insurance X
18+
X X X   Felony; crime involving moral turpitude within the past 10 years. Sheriff, deputy sheriff, other law enforcement officer; judicial official; attorney; parole officer; probation officer; jailer; assistant jailer;, employee of any court of this state.
South Dakota
§ 58-22-1
Bail Bondsman South Dakota Division of Insurance of the Department of Labor and Regulation X
21+
X
U.S. citizen
X     Felony; crime involving moral turpitude. Jailers; attorneys; police officers; convicted felons; committing magistrates; municipal or magistrate court judges; clerks or deputy clerks; sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and constables; any person with arrest power or enumerated prison officials.
Tennessee
§ 40-11-301
Professional Bondsman Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance         X   Constitutionally elected peace officer or as such officer's deputy; any duly elected or appointed county official; jailers; attorneys; police officers; convicted felons; committing magistrates; municipal or magistrate court judges; clerks or deputy clerks; sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and constables; any person with arrest power or enumerated prison officials.
Texas
Occupations Code § 1704.151
Bail Bond Surety None specified X
18+
X
U.S. citizen
  X   Felony; misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.  
Utah
No statute located
                 
Vermont
No statute located
                 
Virginia
Code Ann. § 9.1-185.5
Bail Bondsman Virginia Department of Criminal Justice X
18+
  X X X Felony Employees of a local or regional jail; employees of a sheriff's office; employees of a state or local police department; persons appointed as conservators of the peace; employees of an office of an attorney for the Commonwealth; employees of the Department of Corrections, Department of Criminal Justice Services, or a local pretrial or community-based probation services agency; or spouses or housemates thereof.
Washington
§ 18.185.020
Bail Bond Agent Washington Department of Licensing X
18+
X
U.S. citizen or resident alien
  X   Any crime conviction within the past 10 years, if the director determines that the applicant's particular crime directly relates to a capacity to perform the duties of a bail bond.  
West Virginia
§ 51-10-8
Professional Bondsmen The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia           Offense involving moral turpitude  
Wisconsin
§ 969.12
Commercial Bondsmen Prohibited
Wyoming
No statute located
                 

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2013
Westlaw was used to conduct this research.

Court rule is not included in this chart unless a statute authorizes or is superseded by the rules and case law is not included.

Return to Pretrial Policy Homepage

Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database.

Addtional Resources