Bail Bond Confessions Blog

Another PR

February 19, 2010
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Swing and a miss.  Time to go curl up in a ball with my tylenol.



I’m tired…

February 8, 2010
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Got a call late last night.  An attorney referred a friend of a friend to me.  Her son was just arrested for DUI on his way home from a Superbowl party.  It was interesting that the cop allowed the son to make several phone calls on his cell phone before taking him to jail.  The mother had me on the phone before the kid was even processed in.  I explained the deal to her and offered to meet her at the jail in the morning.

According to the website, bond court starts at 8am.  We get there on time only to find that it is 9am.  Which becomes 10:15am because the judge wasn’t there. All that waiting and then he gave the kid a PR bond.  Sigh.  Maybe I’m just donating to the karma bank on this one.

4 hours of sleep and I’m exhausted.  Time to take a mid-afternoon nap.


NPR has it wrong

January 25, 2010

NPR’s “All Things Considered” has a 3 part scathing story on bail bonds in America.   I have to say it is a seriously flawed report. First, the reporter focuses on a few individuals in three different jurisdictions and then uses their experiences to paint a picture across the whole nation.  If one baseball player is caught using steroids, does that mean that every baseball player does? Of course not.

Next, she conveniently ignores the fact that judges set bail and the conditions for bail.  Bondsman have absolutely no control over this, yet they are vilified as being “in control” of who gets free and who doesn’t. Poppycock.

Then, she ignores four other jurisdictions that ban the use of commercial bail bondsman (Oregon, Kentucky, Illinois, and Wisconsin) rather than comparing the experiences of defendants in those systems to those in the rest of the nation or even just in Lubbock, Broward, and NYC where she focuses. Probably, the reporter choose to ignore these other states because they did not support her supposition that the system is flawed and corrupt and if we got rid of commercial bail, the system would be better for it. Instead, those states have massive problems with defendants not showing up for court dates.

She also tries to tie the entire country together under the umbrella of flawed system, though clearly every state regulates their bail industry differently. There are radical differences between states on the fees that can be charged, conditions that can be set, and the way forfeitures are dealt with.  Instead of highlighting these differences and showing which states are most successful, she focuses on the weaknesses and alleges that every state has the same problems when clearly this is not possible.

Finally, and most importantly, she tries to make the point that poor people who can’t afford bail and that are not accused of major crimes are suffering here and they should be let “free” under PTI.  I have nothing against PTI and I support its use in the appropriate circumstances.  However, if these poor people who didn’t commit major crimes are really not a flight risk, why did the judge issue them bail in the first place?  Why not just let them out on their own recognizance?

I’ll tell you why.  Because when you are poor and you are a repeat offender, regardless of your guilt or innocence, you are not likely to have very many ties to keep you in the area, much less to ensure that you show up for your court date.  So if you are let out on a PR bond, you will likely skip out on court.

This is the point that the reporter is missing about why bail is set in the first place.  Bail is not a punishment nor is it an assumption of guilt.  It is just a tool that the courts can use to ensure that a defendant will show up to court.

PTI is really no different than a bail bondsman.  Both systems provide a check and balance function to ensure that individuals accused of a crime show up for court.  The main difference is in how they are funded.  PTI is funded by tax payer money.  Bail Bondsman are paid by the Defendants and/or their family.


Week in Review

December 17, 2009
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So I haven’t had any real business since the last time I posted. Yesterday, I turned down a transfer bond because it would have netted me $25 after expenses, not including 100 miles or so of round trip driving.

Today, the situation was a little different and I was happy to do a different transfer bond.  I basically made $1/mi. and it took most of my afternoon dealing with a screwed up bureaucracy, but I had the law on my side and prevailed.

I don’t want to go into too many details, but essentially this small town in the middle of nowhere wanted me to pay for a business license before they would let me bond the guy out.  It took a while and I had to cite a court case, but the city admin relented and allowed me to go ahead and post the bond.  But she “threatened” that I would have to pay a penalty if I wanted to come back and post a 2nd bond.  That penalty would include me getting a license (which I readily agreed would be required by law as I am no longer just doing a “one-off”) and paying a 5% penalty retroactive to today’s date.

As I was leaving her office, I asked her if the business licenses run annually there as in most places.  She said “Yes”.  So then I clarified…we’re talking Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, right?  She said “Yes”.

So…as long as I don’t have to post any more bonds in her town between now and the end of the year, I’ll avoid the penalty. Next year, I would contend that it resets.


Not much to talk about

October 26, 2009
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Wish I had something to be outraged or happy about. Unfortunately, the world is quiet around here.  I had two potential bonds fall through because the people got PR’d.  Thats the downside to working with good attorneys, I guess. I might have another one tomorrow, we’ll see if they give him a PR or not. Otherwise, there just isn’t much to say.

I’m think I’m going to have to go back to the phone company and get a full landline again.  I’m starting to need a fax and might need it for credit card processing.  I don’t know of any technological solutions around it.


1st Contact

September 13, 2009

I was woken up this morning by the ringing of my phone.  I recognized the name, though it was someone I haven’t spoken with since middle school.  He told me that he had a younger female friend that hosted a party last night.  The party was busted by the cops and they found a very small amount of marijuana.  Since no one claimed it, his friend was arrested and sent to jail.  He wanted my help so I collected some basic info.

Since it was a first time offense, I told him that his friend would most likely be released on a PR bond (personal recognizance) and that he didn’t need my services.  I explained to him when bond court would be held, how much bond would be set at if she isn’t given a PR bond, and told him to call back if I could be of further assistance.  I checked her info on the jail’s website and by this afternoon, she was already released on the PR bond.  I was happy that I had my first call, even if I wasn’t able to make money off of it.

Her booking picture was something.  One thing you could read for certain on her face was that she had never been in any trouble like this before and she was way over her head, scared senseless, and unable to stop crying.

I hope I get more calls and that they are for paying customers. I’ve got a baby due around Thanksgiving and the clock is ticking.  I’ll be raising two kids then, one human and one a fledgling bail bond business.


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