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How to Become a Bail Bondsman in New York

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In exchange for a fee, a bail bondsman posts bail payments to a court on behalf of clients. The fee is usually 10 percent of the total bail amount. Once a client posts bail, they are released from jail until they are required to return to court. If a defendant misses his court date, he becomes a fugitive, and the bail bondsman stands to lose the bail money they posted if they cannot find and return the defendant. Thus, many bail bondsmen also obtain a bail enforcement agent license, also known as a "bounty hunter" license, which authorizes them to seek and apprehend clients who have missed their court appearance.

Bail Bondsmen Requirements

Provide written evidence of good character and reputation. Include recommendations from both personal and professional sources.

Submit criminal records showing no major convictions. Specifically, you must never have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, such as fraud, murder, or contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Submit to a background check and fingerprinting.

Pay the applicable state licensing and examination fees. The New York State Department sets the licensing application fee, currently at $500. This fee is nonrefundable.

Pass an examination. The bail bondsman test focuses on the bail bond business and relevant criminal law.

Post a surety bond in the amount of $5,000. As a bail bondsman directly handles clients' money, the surety bond acts as protection in the amount of any financial misconduct.

Additional Bail Enforcement Agent Requirements

Submit a bail enforcement agent application. The application asks for your full name, age, where you have lived for the previous three years, and your present and previous occupations.

Show proof that you are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. A passport, birth certificate, or permanent resident card will suffice.

Demonstrate three years of relevant experience. Qualifying experience includes any law enforcement job, including licensing as a private investigator.

Complete a basic certification course. The bail enforcement agent course consists of 25 hours of State-approved training which includes instruction on the rights of fugitives.


After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA, John Csiszar earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served 18 years as an investment adviser. Csiszar has served as a technical writer for various financial firms and has extensive experience writing for online publications.