When done right, a bail bondsman can earn a good living. While the majority of bondsmen work hard to deserve the trust of their clients, there are those who seek to increase their business through underhanded means. There have been many instances of bail bondsmen cold calling families of defendants,handing out flyers in the courthouse, or paying inmates to solicit clients within the jail.
With so many effective and legal options for marketing a bail bond business, it’s not only surprising, but disheartening to see that agents are willing to risk their careers and the reputation of the industry for a few extra clients. Not only does this type of behavior affect their company, but it reflects negatively on the thousands of other agents out there who run an honest bail bonds company.
The Negative Impact
The bail industry already faces opponents, so having a few black sheep in the business gives those who want to do away with private bail bondsmen another weapon to fire. The more trouble a state sees brewing in privately run bail bond businesses, the stricter the state will be about bail bond marketing.
Illegal solicitation also hurts fair competition among bail bond agents. When an agent intercepts any arrestees in the courthouse or jail, it makes it more difficult for fellow bondsman to bring in business. Furthermore, unscrupulous bondsmen hurt the public by undermining trust and allowing defendants to get out of jail who have no real means to pay their bail.
Each state has its own set of laws regulating the bail bond industry, but for any agent found guilty of illegal solicitation could face severe penalties and even the loss of their license. Being sentenced to several years in jail is another possibility for these unprincipled bondsmen.
Avoid Bail Solicitation
If you are looking for a bondsman, you will want to look into your own state’s laws regarding bail bondsmen and marketing to find out which practices for solicitation have been outlawed, but here are a few practices to avoid in order to get a bondsman with a solid reputation in the industry:
- Bondsman shouldn't loiter around the jail or courthouse. Most states have made handing out flyers or directly approaching people in the courthouse or jail a no-no. Certainly, bondsmen have legitimate business in jails and courts, but a bondsman is not allowed to approach potential clients to solicit business.
- Inmates making money for referrals. This is a sure-fire way to land in hot water. Bondsmen have been caught offering incentives or reduced bail amounts to inmates in jail who encourage others to use their agency. This violates state’s laws about bail solicitation. It is also illegal for an unlicensed person to negotiate or execute a bail bond if they are not licensed by the state to do so.
The bail bond industry provides a valuable service to citizens. There is plenty of business to be had for agents who are willing to put in the time and effort needed to market themselves legally. Avoid bondsmen who solicit clients illegally and help boost your state’s confidence in the bail bond industry.