Table of Contents:
- Requirements for Becoming a Bail Bondsman in Florida
- Requirements for Becoming a Bail Bondsman in Texas
Florida law (F.S. 648.355) requires 120 hours of classroom instruction with a passing grade of 80 percent or higher. This is usually a three-week course covering laws and rules of the bail bond industry, as well as self-defense and arrest procedures. The instruction must come from a provider approved by the Florida Department of Insurance. The cost for the course is approximately $600.
In addition to the required classroom hours, a correspondence course on insurance and bonds is also required. The University of Florida class "INS 3 - Bail & Bail Bond Insurance in Florida" meets this requirement. The 120 hours of training and the insurance correspondence course must have been completed within the four years prior to submitting an application for a temporary bail bondsman license.
After completing the training described above, you must obtain employment with a licensed bail bond agent or insurance company, who must submit an affidavit attesting to your integrity and moral character. This must be attached to your application for a temporary bail bond agent license along with similar statements by at least three reputable citizens residing in the counties where you will work. The temporary bail bond license is valid for up to 18 months. During this time, you must work 30 hours per week for a cumulative total of 52 weeks, while submitting a record of your hours worked to the Department of Financial Services on Form DFS-H2-1543.
Only after completing the necessary training and one-year internship period under a licensed bail bondsman can you be eligible to sit for the final exam. Upon request, the Department of Financial Services will provide you with an authorization notice that will allow you to schedule and take the exam. Appointment as a licensed bail bondsman can occur after you pass the exam, a thorough background check and any other reasonable inquiries made by the state.
Training and Education
Before you can apply to become a licensed bail bondsman, you will have to complete an apprenticeship under a licensed Texas bondsman. This means continuous employment for at least a year at not less than 30 hours per week. During this time you will have to have performed all the tasks of a bondsman. It's also necessary to complete eight hours of in-person classroom education in criminal law or bail bond law courses approved by the State Bar of Texas and offered by an accredited Texas institution of higher learning.
The application for professional bail bondsman license must be submitted to the County Bail Bond Board (if applicable) or the state. The application must include your name, age and address, the name under which you plan to do business, the address of each place where your business will be conducted, and a list of nonexempt real property (see Section 1704.155) to be executed in trust to the board as collateral on bonds. In addition, the application must include a sworn financial statement by you, a declaration of compliance with Texas law, three letters of recommendation from reputable persons, a set of fingerprints, a passport photo, and the $500 filing fee. Upon satisfying the financial requirements and any other reasonable inquiries into your application, your license will be granted.
If there is a County Bail Bond Board, they will conduct initial inquiries into your application. There will also be a hearing by state representatives to determine preliminary acceptance. If successful, you will then have to either deposit cash with the county treasurer or execute deeds in the county's favor with a combined total of at least $50,000 ($10,000 in counties with a population under a quarter of a million people). As a bondsman, you will not be able to have outstanding bonds exceeding 10 times the value of your collateral, or half of the net worth of your nonexempt property.