Category Archives: Business

Items pertaining to business and the economy

Posting a Bail Bond After a Failure to Appear

Jeff Downer  Defendants who fail to appear (FTA) and become fugitives are a fact of life.  Since the insuring a defendant’s risk of failing to appear is the basis of the commercial bail industry, posting the bail of someone who has chosen to become a fugitive and subsequently been returned to court can be problematic.

While considering the effects of bonding someone out of custody after a FTA, think of a car insurance.  A car insurer assumes financial responsibility for damages caused in automobile accidents.  The occurrence of car accidents is going to change the dynamics of the relationship between the car owner and the insurance company.  Things are going to be different after an accident and may include:

  • The cost of insurance can increase.
  • The deductible may become larger
  • The policy can be cancelled.

In bail bonding a FTA, like a car accident, is going to change the dynamics of the bail bondsman and defendant relationship:

  • More premium may be required for a new and larger court ordered bond amount.
  • Cash collateral may now be expected.
  • Additional co-signers could be necessary.
  • Real property could be required to secure the bail bond with a mortgage.
  • Conditions such as check ins and electronic monitoring may be put in place.
  • The bonding company may decline to post any further bail for the defendant.

Keep in mind the court is going to have final say in the matter and is under no obligation to let the defendant out on bond again.  If the judge permits another bail bond, amounts can be increased and the court may impose additional conditions of its own.

All the above is not to say on occasions such as being hit by a bus on the way to court can’t result in the judge and the bonding company agreeing to adhere to the original bond and conditions, but it is important to remember that will take place at their option and not the defendant’s.

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Posted in Bail, Business, Fugitive. Tagged with , .

Jeff Downer Bail Bonds and Social Media

Jeff Downer  It is 2013 and social media is firmly entrenched as a means for people and organizations to interact.  Many businesses are now using social media to acquire and retain customers.  Jeff Downer Bail Bonds is no different.

I have found social media offers wonderful opportunities to share news and educate the public about our business, bail bonds and the commercial bail industry.  Jeff Downer Bail Bonds posts daily items of interest on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.  These efforts have not gone unnoticed.  I feel quite honored to have been recognized by the AboutBail network on their list of 50 Bail Professionals You Should Follow on Twitter.

Everyone who is interested is welcome to join us.   All you have to is pick the social media platform of you choice listed on the sidebar and then Like, Add or Follow us.  The whole experience is meant to be interactive so please weigh in with your comments, questions and items to share.  Your thoughts and input are just as important as mine…probably more so.

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Posted in Bail Bonds, Business. Tagged with , , , .

When I Sign on a Bail Bond, What Are My Responsibilities?

Jeff Downer  When an individual bails someone out of jail they are presented with a lot of paperwork to sign consisting of what is often disparagingly called legalese.  Such fineprint found on bail bond applications is often not readily transparent and as might be expected spells out significant responsibilities of the person (called the indemnitor) signing on the bond.

What the paperwork is spelling out is that if the defendant fails to appear, the indemnitor is agreeing to bear the financial repercussions of the defendant failing to appear in court.  These repercussions include:

  • Costs of locating, apprehending and transporting the defendant
  • Any legal fees incurred
  • The amount of the bail bond forfeited to the court

Undertaking such obligations requires some serious thought.  The foremost question, of course, being:  Is the defendant a flight risk?   As long the defendant attends all their court dates, the indemnitor has nothing to fear.  If the defendant does become a fugitive the indemnitor must be willing to work with the bonding company to locate the defendant in order to minimize any financial obligations that may be incurred.

When considering whether to bond someone out, please bear these things in mind and do not hesitate to ask the bail agent any questions you might have about the paperwork you would be expected to sign.

Find here the application forms we use at Jeff Downer Bail Bonds.

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Posted in Bail, Bail Bonds, Business, Legal, Surety Bond. Tagged with , , .

How Long Is a Surety Bail Bond Valid?

Jeff Downer  When a bail agent posts a bond, it is called an undertaking.  Bail agents are often asked how long the bail bond undertaking is valid.  This question is generally concerns whether the bond is only intended for appearance at the initial hearing of the case.

The answer is the bail bond in effect for all court appearances ordered by the judge for a period of three years.  This is per the following section of the Indiana Code:

Indiana Code 27-10-2-3
Undertakings; validity; defect of form or other irregularity; expiration
Sec. 3. (a) An undertaking is valid if it states:
(1) the court where the defendant is to appear;
(2) the amount of the b l; and
(3) that it was made before an official legally authorized to take the bond.
(b) A surety remains liable on an undertaking despite:
(1) any lack of the surety’s qualifications as required by section 4 of this chapter;
(2) any other agreement that is expressed in the undertaking;
(3) any failure of the defendant to join in the undertaking; or
(4) any other defect of form or record, or any other irregularity, except as to matters covered by subsection (a).
(c) Any undertaking written after August 31, 1985, shall expire thirty-six (36) months after it is posted for the release of a defendant from custody. This section does not apply to cases in which a bond has been declared to be forfeited and the surety and bail agent have been notified as described in section 12 of this chapter.
As added by P.L.261-1985, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.355-1989(ss), SEC.1; P.L.105-2010, SEC.6.

If the case goes over the three year period the bond must be renewed to for the undertaking to remain in place.  That being said, in my experience I have never had an undertaking reach the three year expiration limit.

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Posted in Bail Bonds, Business, Indiana, Law, Surety Bond.

Methods of Bail Bond Premium Payment

Jeff Downer  The commercial (surety) bail bond industry in Indiana is heavily regulated.  This regulation extends into how a bail bondsman may accept payment for his services.  This payment is called premium and is defined by Indiana Code as follows:

IC 27-10-1-8
“Premium”
Sec. 8. “Premium” means:
(1) currency issued by the United States of America paid to a bail agent prior to the execution of a bail bond;
(2) a check delivered to a bail agent prior to the execution of the bail bond that must be:
(A) properly payable when delivered; and
(B) deposited in the bail agent’s bank account; or
(3) a credit card transaction if the bail agent:
(A) accepts the credit card; and

(B) obtains:
(i) authorization from the credit card issuer for the amount due; and
(ii) an approval number from the credit card issuer for the credit card transaction;
before the execution of the bail bond.
As added by P.L.261-1985, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.224-1993, SEC.3; P.L.348-1995, SEC.1.

Accepting payment in any other manner is considered to be failure to collect full premium and is considered a felony per Indiana Code:

IC 27-10-4-5
Failure of bail agent to collect full premium
Sec. 5. A bail agent who knowingly or intentionally executes a bail bond without collecting in full a premium for the bail bond, at the premium rate as filed with and approved by the commissioner, commits a Class D felony.
As added by P.L.261-1985, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.224-1993, SEC.29.

Ouch!  So the method of paying premium is strictly limited.  A bail agent may accept cash, debit card, credit card or a check.  The full eight percent of the bond amount set by the court must be paid.  The agent may not accept things like cars, boats or other types of property as premium payment.

The complete section of the Indiana Code governing commercial bail bonds may be found here.

 

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Posted in Bail Bonds, Business, Indiana, Law, Surety Bond. Tagged with , , .

Is Bail Bond Premium Refunded?

Jeff Downer  The fee paid to a bail bondsman is called premium.  The premium is earned by using the bail bond company’s financial resources for the full bond amount as a guarantee the defendant will appear in court.  At Jeff Downer Bail Bonds the premium is set by law at eight percent of the bond amount.

Once the case is over, bail agents often are asked if the premium will be refunded.  The answer is no for two reasons:

The first reason is that the premium was earned.  The defendant did not have come up with the entire amount of the bond to be released.  The bail bond company did that and as an insurer assumed the financial risk of the defendant’s failure to appear in court.

The second reason is that the refunding (or rebating) of premium by bail insurers is prohibited by Indiana law and is a criminal offense:

IC 27-10-4-2
Advising employment of attorney; paying fees or rebates; acting as attorney; accepting property; soliciting business
Sec. 2. (a) A bail agent or recovery agent may not do any of the following:
(1) Suggest or advise the employment of or name for employment any particular attorney to represent the bail agent’s principal.
(2) Pay a fee or rebate or give any property to an attorney in bail bond matters, except in defense of any action on a bond.
(3) Pay a fee or rebate or give or promise any property to the principal or anyone in the bail agent’s behalf.
(4) Participate in the capacity of an attorney at a trial or hearing of one on whose bond the bail agent is surety.
(5) Accept any property from a principal except the premium, bail bond filing fee (when applicable), and transfer fee (when applicable), except that the bail agent or surety may accept collateral security or other indemnity from the principal that must be returned upon final termination of liability on the bond. The collateral security or other indemnity required by the bail agent or surety must be reasonable in relation to the amount of the bond.
(6) Solicit business in or about any place where prisoners are confined or in or near any courtroom.
(b) A person who recklessly violates this section or who operates as a bail agent or recovery agent without a valid license commits a Class A misdemeanor.
As added by P.L.261-1985, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.224-1993, SEC.26.

Confusion about the refunding of premium is understandable. The posting of a cash deposit with the court can be an alternative.  If the defendant has been required by the court or chosen to pay the entire bond amount as a cash bond themselves, then that deposit is eligible to be refunded minus any fines, costs or fees levied by the court.

More information about surety bail bond regulation can be found at the Indiana Department of Insurance Bail Bond Division website.

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Posted in Bail, Bail Bonds, Business, Cash Bond, Indiana, Law, Surety Bond. Tagged with , , , .

Immigration Bonds

Jeff Downer  On occasion I receive inquiries about immigration bonds.  Immigration bonds are a different animal than bail bonds and not something we do here at Jeff Downer Bail Bonds.

For anyone with questions about immigration bonds I would recommend they start with this great article on the The Bail Blog: “Bail Bonds Versus Immigration Bonds” by Tonya Rynerson.

Ms. Rynerson outlines the differences between bail and immigration bonds and delves into immigration bond specific issues.  Check it out.  I hope you find it useful.

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Posted in Business, Law, National. Tagged with , , .

RockaTrain Racing Makes Competition Debut

 

Jeff Downer Bail Bonds Sponsored  Race Bike

Call Jeff for fast service.

Jeff Downer   RockaTrain Racing (sponsored by Jeff Downer Bail Bonds) made their initial venture into motorcycle drag racing with a promising debut.  The initial plunge took place at the Bunker Hill drag strip.

Here is team principle James Compton’s (aka Preacher) description of the evening’s events:  “It was pretty cool. We went up there to get some track time and ended up makin’ it out of qualifying and to the quarter finals. That bike is old school considering we were runnin’ against fuel injected nitro Busas. We got a few of them that night. Our rider was shiftin’ gears too due to our air shifter not workin’ quite right and we don’t have the nitro on it yet either. Ended up with a 6.22 in the eighth mile at the end of the night.”.

Our hats off the RockaTrain guys and gals.   It’s been a lot of fun being involved.  Stay tuned for updates on RockaTrain Racing’s further adventures.

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Posted in Bail, Business, Racing, Smiles. Tagged with , , , .

RockaTrain Race Team Concludes Successful Test

 

Jeff Downer  As the proud sponsor of the RockaTrain Racing Team, we are happy to report the successful test session with one of the Suzuki drag bikes at the Muncie Dragway.  Sub 10 second runs were recorded and most importantly: no boo boos.

Congratulations to the team.  We will be keeping everybody up to date about future events.

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Posted in Bail, Business, Racing. Tagged with , , , .