How to Become a Bail Bondsman in Tennessee
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In Tennessee, to become a bail bondsman, or bail agent as the profession is also called, you must abide by both state and county laws. This includes applying for a license, getting a background check and being trained in your duties and responsibilities by a state-approved program. When you get your license, you can work for a bail bond company; after two years of working experience, you may choose to start your own bail bond company.
Who Can Be a Bail Bondsman
The State of Tennessee has placed restrictions on who is able to become a bail bondsman or agent. Convicted felons cannot become bail bondsmen. Professions that disqualify you from getting a license include working as a law enforcement officer, attorney, jailer, judge or court clerk, along with those responsible for the control of prisoners.
Applying for a License
Licensing of bail bond agents in Tennessee is handled by the Department of Commerce and Insurance. To become a bail bondsman -- as opposed to starting a bail bond company -- you should apply as an individual producer, which does not require an examination. You will be directed to the Uniform Application form at the National Insurance Producer Registry website. Select the Limited Line option when filling out this application, and pay the application fee, which was $50 in 2017.
Criminal History Affidavit and Background Check
In addition to your license application, you need to sign an affidavit detailing your criminal history or stating that you don't have a criminal history. You also need to get a background check from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. If they discover that you have any criminal history that is not in your affidavit, your application will be rejected.
In Tennessee, you must get a training certificate from the Tennessee Association of Bail Agents. To keep your license, you must enroll in the association's continuing education program and complete at least eight hours of training annually.
Each county in the State of Tennessee has its own requirements for bail agents. In each county you work in, you must file your training certificate with the court clerk. The clerk will get a copy of your background check from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Twice each year, you will need to submit financial reports to the court clerk in each county where you work. These reports must show the property you own and its value, including real estate you own with mortgages; taxes and liens; cash and investments; debts; as well as liabilities on bail bonds, fines and bail forfeitures.
- Personal checks and cash are not accepted as payment of the application fee. Submit your application fee via money order, certified check, cashier's check or insurance company check.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has been a hiring manager and recruiter for several companies and advises small businesses on technology. He has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles on careers and small business trends for newspapers, magazines and online publications including About.com, Re/Max and American Express.