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How to Start a Bail Bond Business in North Carolina

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According to the North Carolina Bail Agents Association, becoming a bail bond agent in the Tar Heel State can be an “exciting” career and a profitable business. Those wishing to enter the bail business in North Carolina can become a \"runner\" (that is, an employee who visits jails and interviews potential clients and posts bonds for those who sign up); a licensed bail agent; or a \"surety agent,\" meaning you are legally authorized to post bonds. Licensing of those involved in the bail bond business is the responsibility of the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI).

Meet the minimum requirements for becoming a bail bond agent in North Carolina, which requires that you: (1) be at least 18 years old; (2) be a resident of North Carolina who has never been convicted of a felony or a crime involving \"moral turpitude;\" (3) be free of any outstanding bail bond obligations; (4) have never been disqualified to engage in the bail bond business in North Carolina or any other state; (5) have sufficient knowledge, training, or experience to engage successfully in the bail bonds business; and (6) have worked for at least 12 months for a bail bond agent who has been licensed for two years or more if you are seeking a license as a licensed bail agent.

Get an application to become licensed to enter the bail bond business by calling the NCDOI at 919-807-6800 or by clicking on the link in Resources 2. Since there is only one application for all three licenses, you need to place a check mark next to the license for which you are applying. Do not complete the application until after you have attended the Pre-licensing Bail Education Class, in which you will be instructed on how to complete it correctly, so you can avoid any unnecessary delays in having it processed. The Pre-licensing Bail Education Class fulfills the requirement for item five above under Step 1 and is geared toward providing you with information on the laws and rules of the Bail bond business in North Carolina, as well as its ethical codes.

Go to Reference 3 and click on \"LE Registration Form” and enroll in the Pre-Licensing Class. Attend and complete the three-days class, which must be taken in person. At the end of the class, get your instructor or someone at the Bail Agents Association to help you with filling out your application for a bail bond license.

Send your application to the NCDOI at the address below, along with any required attachments and the filing fee. As of June 2010, the filing fee for a bail agent and surety agent was $263.00, and for a runner the fee was $183.00. You will need to send a passport-sized photograph, a set of fingerprints completed by a law enforcement officer, a copy of your Certificate of Pre-Licensing Education, a copy of your North Carolina drivers license or identification card, and documents showing proof of your having lived in North Carolina for at least the past six months.

North Carolina Department of Insurance Agent Services Division 1204 Mail Service Division Raleigh, NC 27699-1204 919-807-6800

Wait about 45 days to receive your examination authorization letter from the Department of Insurance. When you receive your letter, go to Pearson Vue and register for your qualifying examination. Click on “locate: Find a test center.” On the left side of the next screen under 1 \"Choose Category,\" scroll down and click on “State regulated.” To the right under 2 \"Choose a testing program,\" scroll down and click on “North Carolina Bail Bondsman.” On the next screen, under 1, click on the down arrow and select \"NC\". Then enter your zip code in 2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Continue.” Write down the information for the site at which you wish to take the exam. Go to Resource 1 and click on the link and complete the information to get your check-in code. Once you receive this code, you will be able to register online for the class you selected.

Take the written examination, which consists of multiple choice questions. You will have two hours to complete the examination and you must answer at least 70 percent of the questions correctly to pass it.

Pass the examination and you will receive your license in seven to ten business days. If you fail, you cannot retake the examination for a year.

Post the required security deposit by following the instructions contained in the mailing you will receive along with your license. As of 2010, the required security deposit was $15,000.00 which is the amount you need to put up to be able to hold yourself out as a licensed bail agent. The deposit will be used to cover any bond forfeitures which you fail to pay by the deadline for payment.


If your interested in becoming a runner, you need to complete only the first seven steps outlined above. Of course, you will want to find and get hired by a licensed bail bondsman before you invest the time and money in getting licensed.

If your interest is in being a surety agent, you will not need to complete step eight. Of course, you will want to have a written commitment from a surety company to hire you before you go through the expense of getting licensed.

Fulfilling either of these roles is a good way to get into the bail bond business without the investment required of a bail bondsman and to fulfill the legal requirement of having at least one year of experience working under a bail bondsman before becoming a bail bondsman on your own.


Unfortunately, just what constitutes \"a crime of moral turpitude\" is not always clear. In a North Carolina Court of Appeals decision, the court stated that a conviction for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver constituted a crime of moral turpitude. In this decision, the court accepted the definition of moral turpitude as representing those acts involving \"baseness, vileness, or depravity in private and social duties which man owes to his fellow man or to society in general.\" If you have a criminal conviction for anything other than minor traffic offenses, then you will need to get the advice of legal counsel as to whether or not your conviction is one involving moral turpitude, thus barring you from becoming a bail bondsman.