Why Become a Bail Agent?
As a surety bondsman in Virginia, you will act as the surety who'll pledge to pay the bail of a defendant. It's a critical role in the criminal justice system: bail bondsmen also helps law enforcement ensure that a defendant will be present at his or her hearing.
Working as a bail bond agent isn't just about fulfilling a civic duty, however. It is also a potentially lucrative career that comes with personal and career benefits.
Essentially, becoming a surety bail bond agent enables you to:
- Be of help to your local community – Provide financial relief to individuals, such as those who may have been falsely arrested or are in jail because of an accident.
- Earn big – Receive compensation for your services and the risk you take each time you provide surety to an accused individual.
- Surety bonds are more attractive than cash bail or property bonds. Defendants who settle bail with a surety bondsman only have to pay a small percentage of the total bail, as opposed to taking out a loan to pay the entire amount or pledge the title to their home.
- Surety bail bond agents can charge a non-refundable fee of 10-15% of the bail amount. This means if you provide the surety bond for a misdemeanor DUI arrest with a bail set at $10,000, you can charge $1,000 to $1,500. For felony DUIs with bonds amounting to $50,000, you can get $5,000 to $7,500 for your services.
- Enjoy flexible work hours – Work when it's convenient and when your services are needed. Bail bond agents in Virginia have unconventional work hours, making this an ideal job for people who dislike the restrictions that come with a corporate work setting.
- Achieve job security – Be immune to economic trends. Arrests happen every day, whether due to an accident, a false charge, or a premeditated crime. As a licensed bail bondsman, you won't run out of business because there will always be people in need of your services.
- Lay the foundations of your business – Take your career to the next level and increase your earning potential by opening your own business.
With such great incentives, a career as a bail bondsman is certainly worth considering.
Before you can sign a Power of Attorney and provide surety bonds for defendants, however, you must first obtain a license to be a bail bond agent in Virginia.
Licensing Requirements for Bail Bondsmen in Virginia
The minimum eligibility requirements for aspiring bail bond agents in the state are as follows:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Be a United States citizen. Legal resident aliens are also eligible.
- Have a high school diploma or GED.
- Have no felony conviction or crime involving moral turpitude in the last ten (10) years.
If you meet all these, you may then apply for a license.
Applying for a Virginia Bail Bondsman State License
Step 1. Complete the required initial training from a certified private security services training school.
- Bail Bondsman Entry Level Core Training (40E) – A 40-hour course that teaches the ethical standards of bail bond agents; the Code of Virginia and Regulations Relating to Bail Bondsmen; surety and property law; relevant subjects about the civil and criminal courts and the federal, state, and local courts; release from legal obligation, and fugitive recovery. Click here to find an approved school.
- Firearms Training Entry Level – A requirement for bail bondsmen who are applying for Firearms Endorsement. Click here to find an approved training provider.
Step 2. Take the Bail Bondsman Licensing Exam. To pass and become eligible for a license, you must achieve or exceed the minimum passing grade of 70%.
Step 3. Visit the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) website and submit the Initial Bail Bondsman License Application. If you intend to carry a firearm or apply for a second license as a bounty hunter, fill out the Bail Bondsman Firearm Endorsement Application as well.
Step 4: Pay the necessary licensure fees (non-refundable):
- Licensing fee: $900
- Category fee (for Surety Bail Bondsman): $100
- Criminal history processing fee: $25
- Fingerprint fee: $50
- Firearms Endorsement Application fee: $30
Step 5. Register at www.fieldprintvirginia.com and schedule a date for fingerprinting. You may also call 877-614-4364 to set an appointment.
Step 6. Upload all supporting documents:
- Certification of completion of the 40E training course
- Results of the Bail Bondsman Licensing Exam
- Fingerprint card
- Accomplished Criminal History Processing Form
- Accomplished Firearms Endorsement Application Form, if applicable
- Qualifying power of attorney filed with the DCJS (which you will use to provide surety to your clients)
- A copy of your Property and Casualty License (see the licensing process at the Virginia Bureau of Insurance website).
Once you've obtained your license, you can begin practicing as a surety bondsman in Virginia for the next 24 months. Remember to renew your license before it expires to avoid legal issues.
Work with Amistad Bail Bonds
If reading the licensing process above gave you pause, you'll need the support of surety professionals who've been providing bail bonds in Virginia for years.
Amistad Bail Bonds is not your ordinary employer. We help our agents grow their careers — literally.
Start your career journey with us, and you'll receive our constant guidance and support, from your pre-licensing training to starting your own business.
We can give you valuable support at every stage of your career. Amistad Bail Bonds maintains a 24/7 live support line, which is available even on holidays. We offer training to increase your knowledge, develop your skills, and boost your chances of opening your own office. You can count on us to help with marketing, website creation, and operations management when the time comes.
Take charge of your career and your future. Explore the opportunities that come with becoming a surety bondsman in Virginia. Let's talk today.