Life as a Bond Agent

Ildi Timmons carries handcuffs with her when she’s on the job, but she’s not a police officer. She is the office manager of Aawsome Bail Bonds.

A bail bond agent’s day can include mundane tasks like paper work and phone calls. But when they have a client who does not appear for a court date, things change. The client’s file is marked as “failure to appear” or FTA. When a client skips a court date, the bond agent only has 180 days to either make sure the client is captured or the agent has to pay the full amount.

Pam Caldwell owns Elko Bail Bonds. The company has been in business for over 30 years. Elko was founded by Caldwell’s late husband. She also relies on bond agents the search out those who try to skip bail. She likes to call her agents ‘bail enforcement agents’ rather than ‘bounty hunters’. She also works hard to help her clients get into rehab when appropriate, as she has noticed that drugs definitely increase the crime rate.

Caldwell and Timmons both point out that first time arrestees don’t always understand the bail system. Many do not understand that the agents are running a business and not a service. Getting a bond includes a 15 percent charge, then a $50 court fee. So for example if a client has been told that their bond is $5,000 – an agent collects $800. This amount is not refunded to the client.

Caldwell is sure to offer free advice for those who are not clear on the how the system works. There is no obligation for an agency to accept a client. At times a bond agent may consider a potential client too big of a risk.




Posted on June 26, 2014 at 10:00 AM