Bail Bond Agent

DEFINITION

A bail bond agent is an individual or business appointed by a surety company to execute or countersign the insurer's bail bonds in connection with criminal judicial proceedings. Arizona Revised Statutes ("ARS") § 20-340(2).

When a person is arrested or confined for an actual or alleged violation of federal, state or local criminal law, the court may provide the defendant an opportunity to be released on bail. Bail is an amount deposited with and held by a court as a guarantee that the defendant will appear in court when required by law and will obey orders and judgments of the court. Bail can always be paid in cash. Rather than requiring a cash deposit, a court will sometimes accept bail in the form of a financial guaranty from a surety company, called a bail bond.

With a bail bond, an indemnitor pays the bail bond agent an insurance premium for the bail bond and provides the surety company (through the bail bond agent) collateral that has a value that will cover the bail amount if the defendant violates the court's conditions of release. If the defendant appears in court when required, the surety company must return the collateral to the indemnitor. ARS § 20-340.03(A)(6)

If the court finds that the defendant failed to appear without good cause, the court will issue an order causing the person who posted bail to forfeit the bail to the court. If the court accepted a bail bond in lieu of cash, the surety company must pay the bail amount to the court, but has the opportunity to recover the bail amount by apprehending the defendant. The surety company may utilize a bail bond agent or bail recovery agent to arrest the defendant. ARS § 13-3885(A) and (G).

A bail bond does not include civil bonds in connection with contracts or administrative proceedings, immigration bonds or bonds that provide guarantees for other noncriminal matters.

WHO MUST BE LICENSED

An individual or business entity must be an Arizona-licensed bail bond agent in order to act as a bail bond agent. ARS § 20-340.01(A).

A bail bond agent is not authorized to transact civil bonds in connection with contracts, administrative proceedings or other noncriminal matters in Arizona (unless the person is also licensed as a property and casualty producer in Arizona). ARS § 20-340.01(D).

NOTE: Starting July 20, 2011, the Department of Insurance cannot issue a bail bond agent license until it receives the results of the required federal and state criminal records check, which can take up to 4 months from the license application date.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS (not an exhaustive list)

Not everyone qualifies for a bail bond agent license.

Starting July 20, 2011, Arizona no longer licenses nonresidents as bail bond agents. You must have been a resident of Arizona for at least one year immediately preceding the date of your license application and you must submit an affidavit (Form L-BBAA) along with your license application. ARS § 20-340.01(A).

A bail bond agent cannot be "...a person convicted in any jurisdiction of theft or of any felony or of any crime involving carrying or the possession of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument." ARS § 20-340.03(A)(9).

The Department can deny a license for any cause listed in ARS § 20-295.

You should review these statutes before deciding to spend the time, effort and money to apply for a license. If you apply for a license, you must truthfully and completely answer questions asked on the application, and you may need to provide additional documentation.

BAIL RECOVERY AGENT UTILZATION REPORTING

In addition, under ARS §20-340.04(D) and ARS §13-3885(C) a bail bond agent utilizing a bail recovery agent is required to provide written notification to the Department of Insurance that a bail recovery agent is being used to provide services on a given set of cases. (Using Form L-BRA) The notice must be submitted within twenty-four (24) hours after the retention. In addition, each bail recovery agent must certify on the written notice, under penalty of perjury, that they have never been convicted in any jurisdiction of theft or of any felony or any crime involving the carrying or the illegal use or possession of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and are in compliance with ARS §20-340-04.


GENERAL REQUIREMENTS Common to All Applicants
Be the minimum age Individuals must be at least 18 years old. ARS §§ 20-285(B)(1) and 20-340.06
Pass an exam (individual applicant) Individuals applying for a license must pass an exam. ARS §§ 20-284 and 20-340.06
Fees
(nonrefundable per ARS § 20-167(A))
SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS For Individuals For Business Entities
Submit fingerprints Submit fingerprints. NOTE: The Department must receive results from the state and federal criminal history records check before issuing a license, which can take up to four months. ARS § 20-340.01(B) Submit fingerprints for each member, officer, director and owner. NOTE: The Department must receive results from the state and federal criminal history records check before issuing a license, which can take up to four months. ARS § 20-340.01(B)
Prove license eligibility Form L-152
ARS § 41-1080

Form L-BBAA
ARS § 20-340.01(A)
Each owner and shareholder must be individually licensed as a bail bond agent. ARS § 20-340.01(C)
Apply for the license Form L-169
ARS §§ 20-285(A) and 20-340.06
Form L-176
ARS §§ 20-285(A) and 20-340.06
Furnish and maintain a surety bond

Form L-195
ARS § 20-340.02(A)

Form L-195
ARS § 20-340.02(A)

View your license View your license

BAIL BOND AGENT ANNUAL REPORTING REQUIREMENT

Each year by January 31, pursuant to ARS § 13–3885(D), each bail bond agent must submit an annual report to the Department of Insurance (using Form L–BBAR) listing all bail recovery agents employed, hired as independent contractors or otherwise utilized by the bail bond agent during the year. This report shall certify that all employees of the bail bond agent have met the requirements prescribed in ARS § 20–340.03 and that all bail recovery agents have complied with ARS § 20340.04. The report shall include the name, home and business addresses, date of birth, telephone number, and a two-inch wide by three-inch high photograph of the face of each person identified in the report.


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