Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a bail bondsman? Among other requirements, a bail bondsman in North Carolina needs a license.
Bail bondsmen have a unique role in the criminal justice system. They help post bond money to release people from jail. They also help track people down if they fail to appear in court or honor the terms of their release on bail.
If that sounds like the perfect career for you, it’s time to get your license. Here are seven steps to meet the bail bondsman requirements for your license.
1. You Must Meet the License Requirements
Make sure you understand the requirements of becoming a bail bondsman before you move forward in the process of qualifying as a bondsman.
If you fail to meet these requirements, it’s not worth your time and money to pursue this career. A bail bondsman must:
- Be a resident in North Carolina for at least six consecutive months before applying for a bail bondsman or bail bond runner license
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a high school diploma (or the equivalent)
- Have knowledge, training, or experience and competency necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of a licensed bondsman
- Have no outstanding bail bond obligations
- Have no current or prior violations of Article 71 of Chapter 58 or Article 26 of Chapter 15A of the North Carolina General Statutes
- Not be disqualified in North Carolina or any other state to participate in bail bonds in any capacity
- Hold a valid and current North Carolina driver’s license or identification card issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles
If you meet these requirements, you could be a good candidate for your bail bondsman license!
2. You Can’t Be in Law Enforcement
To avoid conflicts of interest, you can’t be a bail bondsman if you already participate in the legal system.
This conflict excludes:
- Police officers
- Sheriffs or Deputies
- Parole Officers
- Other roles with influence on criminal justice
Being a bail bondsman is an excellent way to get involved in the criminal justice system. However, you can’t be in law enforcement at the time of your application or while you serve as a bondsman.
3. You Must Take a Pre-Licensing Course
Once you have your documentation to verify you meet the requirements listed above, you’ll need that information to register for the required pre-licensing course.
The course takes place over two days and costs between $400 and $500. You can usually register online for the course location that’s most convenient to you in North Carolina.
4. You Must Apply
After you finish the pre-license course, you’re ready to apply for your license as a bail bondsman! Don’t delay this process after you’ve completed your course—your eligibility expires after six months.
Be sure you apply for the type of license you want. Each license serves a different role in the bail bond process.
Bail Bond Runner
A bail bond runner assists a professional bail bondsman. You’ll help get a defendant to court or apprehend a defendant as-needed. You might also keep a defendant under surveillance and execute bonds on behalf of your bondsman as allowed.
The license fee for a bail bond runner is typically lower than the fee to be a professional bondsman. You won’t be able to act as a fully licensed bondsman, but you’ll get good exposure to the world of bonds and bail.
A professionally licensed bondsman can operate in the full capacity of the role. You’ll offer cash or security to defendants by following court requirements.
You’re also responsible for the defendant (or recovering a defendant) while they are out on bond.
A Surety Bail Bondsman works on behalf of an insurer. You’ll receive power of attorney to execute or countersign bail bonds.
Along with the fee for the license, you’ll pay an exam fee to take your bail bondsman exam.
5. You Must Pass a Fingerprint Check
Along with proving your residency in North Carolina and your eligibility to be a bail bondsman, you’ll have to clear a background check.
After you’ve completed your license application and paid your fees, you’ll have access to the online system where you can find an approved location for your fingerprinting. Send your fingerprints, the appropriate forms, and your fingerprint fee to the Bail Bond Regulatory at the NCDOI (North Carolina Department of Insurance).
6. You Must Pass an Exam
You’ve learned what you need to learn from the pre-license course. After you’ve paid your application fee, cleared the fingerprint background check, and the state accepts your application, it’s time to take (and pass) the bail bondsman licensing exam.
You’ll take your exam at a testing facility. Once you pass the exam, they’ll take your photograph for identification with your license.
If you fail the test the first time, you can retake it. However, you must wait for one year from your prior test date before you can retake the exam. Keep in mind that you might need to retake the pre-licensing course to stay eligible for the exam.
7. You’ll Work Under a Supervising Bail Bondsman
After you receive your license, it’s time to get a job! All first-year licensees must work for one year under a supervising bail bondsman.
Joining a professional team like Amistad Bail Bonds is the best way to gain experience and establish yourself as a quality bail bondsman.
Get Started on Your Bail Bondsman Requirements!
There’s always a need for bail bondsmen. Get started on your bail bondsman requirements so you can begin your career in the industry.
It might not be as exciting as what you see from bounty hunters on TV, but remember that a bail bondsman is not a bounty hunter. However, it can be a fulfilling career for you as an essential part of the legal system in North Carolina.
Learn more about Amistad Bail Bonds and how we can help you get involved!