Can Bail Bondsmen Prevent Clients From Jumping Bail?

Bail bondsmen, like all other humans, learn from their mistakes and hopefully don’t repeat them. In the bail industry this translates into an old saying about fooling me once and fooling me twice and shame on you and me respectively. Reducing the risk of missed court appearances may not be as dependent on the whims of a felon as you might think. A pro-active approach can do much to reduce liability and the following tips should be placed somewhere neatly under your bail bondsman cap.



 

Connect with your client

In addition to you trusting your client, he or she has to feel comfortable with you as well. While in the total scheme of things you may never end up as close personal friends, building respect for one another creates an important bond that can only aid you in discerning specific information you will need from your client.

 

Inform clients about acceptable documentation

Make sure your clients know BEFORE they come to your office exactly what they need in order to legally proceed with the posting of bail. Without exception, they must present a government-issued picture identification, a Social Security card, proof of residence, proof of employment, and their personal address/phone book (for personal reference contact). Make it easy for them by offering a print-out or check list that outlines all of the required documentation.

Become a customer-friendly company

By removing the guesswork and making things easier for your clients you become a customer-friendly company and word gets around. Posting bail is a stressful time both for the defendant and his or her loved ones. Anything that reduces stress and anxiety makes the process flow more smoothly for everyone.

 

Make photocopies of all original documents

This is very important. Do not ever, and we do mean ever, accept a photocopy as proof of anything. Take the actual, original document (bill, paycheck stub, social security card, etc.) into your own hands and make a photocopy for yourself. It is also a good idea to take a photograph of the applicant and make sure to include any identifying marks like scars, birthmarks, moles, and tattoos. Compare it with the booking photograph. (You should secure that before the defendant appears at your office to fill out the required paperwork.)

After the bail bond is posted, an effective bail bondsman should secure:

• the defendant’s booking sheet.  This can reveal more valuable information.

•.the defendant’s passport

•.cell phone downloads which can tell you much about the defendant’s associates.

• G.P.S. ankle bracelet, if it is permitted in your particular state.

• Fingerprint cards can be effective for immigration bond companies, as many clients can remain on bond for several years, changing their physical appearances.

Keep track of court appearances

This will save a bail bond company from having to wait to receive a forfeiture letter in the mail, which can take as much as a few weeks.

Verify all information and phone numbers

Ask your applicants to call you from their phone to your business phone. This is the easiest way to verify their phone numbers with your caller I.D.

At all times, treat everybody with the utmost dignity and respect, but do not ever eliminate any of the steps in your screening process. You have to assume that some people will lie and others will tell the truth. Until you know which is which, you need to check everything out.

These steps will help to eliminate some of the risk you might otherwise encounter when posting bail bonds. They may take some extra time, but in the long run, it is you who will benefit from your additional efforts.

Posted by M Dee Dubroff, on January 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM