|SB 1027||Makes changes to the bail bondsmen and surety recovery agents licensing provisions|
|LR Number:||3585L.09C||Fiscal Note:||3585-09|
|Committee:||Financial and Governmental Organization, Veterans' Affairs & Elections|
|Last Action:||05/14/04 - H Calendar S Bills for Third Reading w/HCS||Journal page:|
|Title:||HCS SCS SBs 1027 & 896|
|Effective Date:||August 28, 2004|
HCS/SCS/SBs 1027 & 896 - The act shall be known as the "Professional Bail Bondsmen and Surety Recovery Agent Licensure Act". Under this act, no person shall engage in the activities of a bail bond agent or a general bail bond agent without being licensed. Judges, attorneys, court officials, law enforcement officers and public employees cannot be licensed as such agents. A licensed bail bond agent cannot execute or issue appearance bonds without a valid appointment from a general bail bond agent and without attaching to the appearance bond an executed and prenumbered power of attorney referencing the general bail bond agent or insurer.
A bail bond agent must be licensed for two years before being licensed as a general bail bond agent. Bail bond agents cannot have unlicensed people soliciting or engaging in business for them. A person posting a bail bond who receives no fee is not affected by such licensing requirements. It is a Class A misdemeanor to violate such requirements.
The Department of Insurance administers and enforces this act and the Director of the Department sets the amount of fees required.
New bail bond agents and general bail bond agents must have at least 24 hours of initial basic training and at least eight hours of biennial continuing education. The Department will set the amount of fees to be paid for the training, which cannot exceed $200 for the initial basic training and $150 for the continuing education. After completing the training, the Director will issue a two-year license for a fee of no more than $150.
The act requires that a person prove, along with other requirements, that he or she has a high school diploma or GED in order to receive a license. Those currently employed in such positions are not required to meet these educational requirements.
In addition, applicants for general bail bond agent licenses must furnish proof that the applicant completed two years as a bail bond agent and possess at least $10,000 in liquid assets along with a duly executed assignment of $10,000 to the state. The Director may require additional assignments of assets when the accumulation of unwarranted judgments by the general bail bond agent warrants additional funds, which cannot exceed $25,000.
The act requires bail bond agents to account for each power of attorney assigned by the general bail bond agent if he or she makes such a request in writing. The general bail bond agent must maintain certain records and provide copies of the bail contract to certain interested parties.
No insurer or licensee, court, or law enforcement officer shall pay a fee, give anything of value, or accept anything of value, in order to secure a settlement, compromise, remission, or reduction of the amount of any bail bond.
A licensee may accept collateral security from the principal in a fiduciary capacity, which collateral shall be returned upon final termination of liability on the bond. The licensee must provide a prenumbered written receipt and report the acceptance of the collateral to the general bail bond agent. The collateral security may be used to reimburse the licensee for costs associated with forfeiture. The general bail bond agent must retain records relating to the use of the collateral to reimburse the licensee.
All licenses issued to bail bond agents and general bail bond agents shall be renewed biennially.
In addition to other requirements, an applicant who is licensed in another state cannot have any suspensions or revocations of a license, must pay the same fees as resident applicants, and complete the same education requirements. The Department of Insurance may negotiate reciprocal compacts with other states for the admission of licensed bail bond agents.
The act modifies and creates new reasons the Director of the Department of Insurance may file a complaint with the administrative hearing commission against a license holder or a person who fails to renew his or her license.
The act allows the Director to suspend or revoke a license or enter into agreements for monetary penalties in lieu of formal discipline of a bail bond agent. The Director is also given the power to issue a cease and desist order or seek an injunction when it appears an unlicensed person is violating this act.
The act requires the court to extend the judgment date or notify the Department of the failure to satisfy the judgment after a six-month period. All bail bond agents and general bail bond agents shall be qualified to write bail upon a surety's liability in all courts of the state as provided in rules promulgated by the Supreme Court of Missouri.
The act provides provisions creating criminal penalties for practicing as a bail bond or general bail bond agent without a license. The first offense is an infraction and subsequent offenses are Class A misdemeanors. Under certain circumstances including using fraud, acting as an attorney or failing to provide the necessary documents, a licensed bail bond agent is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.
Any bail bond agent licensed in the state shall have access to all publicly available court records of the defendant to make an assessment of the defendant's probability of attending all court dates. The act has provisions which provide for defendants and bail bond agents having access to each other and the conditions associated with such access.
The act allows the Director of the Department of Insurance to examine and inquire into all alleged violations of bail bond law of this state, complaints filed with the department, and business transacted by any bail bond agent, general bail bond agent or surety recovery agent. The Director, or an appointee, may compel appearance and examine people when investigating a matter of concern.
The act requires surety recovery agents to be licensed. The Director of the Department of Insurance shall control the licensing process and set the amount of fees required. Licenses for surety recovery agents are valid for two years and the fees for the license cannot exceed $150.
Applications for examination and licensure as a surety recovery agent are on forms prescribed by the Department of Insurance and must be accompanied by proof that the applicant is a US citizen and at least 21 years old, and has a high school diploma or GED. The completion of 24 hours of initial basic training is required along with eight hours of biennial continuing education. Applicants for surety recovery agents licensing are exempt from the initial training requirements if they provide proof of prior training as a law enforcement officer with at least two years of service within the prior 10 years.
The act requires the Director to issue licenses, with limited exceptions, to surety recovery agents from other jurisdictions for two years. The Department of Insurance may negotiate reciprocal compacts with other states for admission of licensed surety recovery agents.
The act allows a surety, or a surety recovery agent with written authority, to apprehend a defendant anywhere within the state before or after the forfeiture of the undertaking without personal liability for false imprisonment.
The act sets out provisions for renewal of surety recovery agent licenses. The Director may refuse to renew any license for reasons specified in the act.
The act creates reasons the Director of the Department of Insurance may file a complaint with the administrative hearing commission against a license holder or a person who fails to renew his or her surety recovery agent license. Instead of filing a complaint with the Administrative Hearing Commission, the Director and surety recovery agent may enter into an agreement for a monetary penalty. Also, after a finding by the Commission of a violation, the surety recovery agent's license may be suspended or revoked. The Director may also issue a cease and desist order or seek an injunction against those appearing to act as a surety recovery agent without a license.
A bail bond agent, general bail bond agent, or surety recovery agent may detain a subject in a lawful manner and enter upon private or public property in order to execute apprehension of the subject, if the agent has probable grounds to believe the subject breached the terms of the surety agreement. The agent may detain the subject for no more than 72 hours when travel time is required. The agent may transport the subject from state to state, and county to county, to a place of authorized surrender.
Under this act, it is a Class D felony if a person does not have a valid surety recovery agent license or bail bond agent license and holds himself or herself out as a licensed agent, claims that he or she can render such services, or engages in fugitive recovery. If an agent wrongfully causes damage to person or property while apprehending a person, he or she will be liable for such damages.
On application of the surety filed within one year of the payment of final judgment, the court shall order remission of 100% of the bond amount to the surety under certain conditions.
The act establishes that a defendant shall be surrendered
without the return of the premium for the bond if the
indemnitor attests in writing the desire to be released or if
the agent discovers the defendant is guilty of certain
activities. Upon forfeiture of the bond, the court may order
that the defendant's driver's license be suspended until such
time as the defendant has satisfied the forfeiture.