A bail bondsman is the person who writes the bond for the release of a defendant, and can also act as a bounty hunter (if he is a licensed bail bondsman). He operates under an agreement with the court that they will cover the bond if the suspect doesn’t show up for a legal proceeding. If this happens, the bail bondsman is allowed by law to bring the suspect back in. There are a few important steps you should understand and follow if you want to become a bail bondsman in the state of Virginia.
Meet the basic requirements. You need to be over the age of 18, have a high-school diploma or GED and successfully complete a required bail-bondsman exam. It is also helpful to have some kind of military or law-enforcement background. It’s not required, but it will aid you in your training.
To take the exam, contact the Department of Insurance in Virginia. Ask which schools in your area, if any, offer the test for a licensed bail bondsman and/or limited surety license agent. Determine the cost involved and what the classes entail. Make sure that the instructor will be able to tell you where to apply for your license once you finish classes, and that the classes you are taking are the correct ones to help you obtain your license. Each county has different rules.
Submit your application. Once you have finished your required classes, you are eligible for your license. The form you will submit is an Initial Producer Application. It presents basic information about you, states where you will be writing bonds, names your surety company and details your outstanding liability and build-up funds. The initial bail-bondsman application in Virginia costs $900 for a 2-year license, payable to the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services Private Security Services Section. A $50 non-refundable fee covers your fingerprint card.
Decide whether you want to work as a bail bondsman is someone else's employ, or--if you have the funds, background and reputation--to start your own agency. You can work for a reputable company until you have the training and background you need to start your own business. Most start by working for a reputable agent until they can learn the ropes and get experience in the field.
Learn the laws of your own county.
A background check can take up to 45 days. If you are going to carry a firearm, you must maintain a firearm's endorsement and complete training classes.