|SB 0419||Licenses bail bondsman and surety recovery agents (bounty hunters)|
|LR Number:||S1846.01I||Fiscal Note:||1846-01|
|Committee:||Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence|
|Last Action:||02/24/99 - Hearing Conducted S Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence||Journal page:|
|Effective Date:||August 28, 1999|
SB 419 - This act contains new licensing provisions for bail bondsmen and surety recovery agents (bounty hunters). It also expands the crime of hindering prosecution.
HINDERING PROSECUTION - The crime is expanded to include withholding information about a fugitive who has violated a bail bond.
BAIL BONDSMAN LICENSING ACT:
DEPARTMENT - The licensing of professional bail bondsmen is moved from the Department of Insurance to the Department of Economic Development, Division of Professional Registration. The relevant sections in Chapter 374, RSMo, are repealed.
BOARD - A Professional Bail Bondsman Licensing Board is created in the Division of Professional Registration. It is composed of seven members appointed by the Governor. The members shall represent bail bond companies and certain law enforcement officials.
LICENSING - Both professional bail bond companies and professional bail bondsmen shall be licensed. Professional bail bondsmen must hold an appointment by a bail bond company and must have a numbered power of attorney. Professional bail bond companies may only act through professional bail bondsmen.
APPLICATIONS - The power of attorney for the professional bail bondsman shall be included with the application. Appearance bonds issued by the bondsman shall not exceed the amount specified in the power of attorney. Each bail bond company must have a bond of $1 million. License fees are $1000 for the companies and $100 per bondsman. Character references and fingerprints are also required. Each applicant for a bondsman license must pass a written examination. Applicants must be state residents.
PROHIBITIONS - No bondsman or bond company may make deals with listed officials or attorneys in order to reduce the amount of a bond. No bondsman or bond company may act as an attorney. A bondsman may not accept anything from a principal other than the premium or collateral security.
LETTER OF CREDIT - Each professional bail bond company applicant must have a letter of credit or certificate of deposit. The amount is $100,000 for those newly licensed after 8/1/98, and the amount for others begins at $25,000 and is phased in over three years to $100,000. The letter of credit shall be used to cover the cost of any misconduct by the licensee. The Board may bring a civil or administrative action to recover against the certificate. The letter of credit shall be used to pay any judgment for bond forfeiture which has not been paid within 30 days.
PENALTIES - Engaging in the bail bond business without a license is a Class A misdemeanor. The Board may suspend any licensee who is guilty of misconduct or who fails to pay a bond forfeiture. The Board may suspend or revoke a license for seven listed reasons (Section 13).
LICENSES - The Board shall keep each county clerk up to date on the status of licensees. The licenses shall coincide with the calendar year. Renewal fees are the same as those for original application. Those currently licensed have 120 days to comply with this act (after August 28, 1999), do not need to take the written examination, and get a reduced fee.
MISC. - Each bail bond company shall file a quarterly bail bond report with the Board detailing the current status of each bond. Every jail and prison shall post a list of professional bail bondsmen registered with the local circuit clerk. Bond cards may be issued by a bail bond company, a surety and an automobile club.
SURETY - A surety must be either a professional bail bondsman or a person with sufficient visible property (beyond the amount exempt from execution) available to pay bail. A person may be offered as surety to guarantee the appearance of a defendant in court. The official statement of the surety's property value must be signed by the local sheriff or chief of police. No attorney, clerk or sheriff shall become a personal surety except for close family members. Procedures are given for delivery of the defendant to a jailer by a surety.
BOND & RECOGNIZANCE - No bond shall be void for lack of form if its intent can be plainly deduced. No bond or recognizance shall be invalid because of any variance with the requirements of this act. A bond shall be discharged within two years or continued.
BAIL - The defendant may deposit bail with the court and be released. A certificate of deposit shall be given to the defendant, and the money shall be held by the circuit or municipal clerk. The deposit may be applied to any fine and court costs. A defendant on bail may be arrested for failure to appear in court, and a new bail amount shall be set.
FORFEITURE - If the defendant fails to appear in court, the judge shall order the surety to appear and show why the bail bond or money should not be forfeited. If the defendant is not brought before the court prior to judgment against the surety, the surety shall forfeit the bail bond or money deposited. A bondsman shall have a chance to return a defendant found in another state. No forfeiture shall be rendered if the defendant is physically or mentally unable to attend or if the defendant is being detained or is incarcerated.
BOND FEE - A fee of $10 shall be added to each bond and remitted to the Director of Revenue. The proceeds shall be put into a fund to pay the administrative costs of the Professional Bail Bondsman Licensing Board.
SURETY RECOVERY AGENT LICENSURE ACT:
SURETY RECOVERY AGENTS - Surety recovery agents are those who capture fugitives who have violated a bail bond agreement. Such agents shall be licensed by the Professional Bail Bond Licensing Board. The Board shall set the licensing fees to offset its administrative expenses. Agents must have 160 hours of approved training. The agent or his bond company must have a $1 million insurance bond.
NONRESIDENTS - A surety recovery agent licensed in another jurisdiction having similar requirements may get a license in Missouri. The agent must have no violations, suspensions or revocations in any jurisdiction, must have a $1 million bond, and the company must have at least one surety recovery agent with a Missouri license. Any agent not licensed in Missouri who takes a fugitive into custody is guilty of the crime of kidnapping.
AUTHORITY - A licensed surety recovery agent may arrest a subject who has failed to appear in court and is free on the bond of the agent. The agent may detain a subject in a reasonable manner for a reasonable time not to exceed 72 hours. The agent may peaceably enter public or private property in a reasonable manner to execute an arrest.
PENALTIES - It shall be a Class D felony to act as a surety
recovery agent or to bounty hunt in Missouri without a license.
Any person who bounty hunts and causes injury or property damage
in the process shall be liable for any damages, including
punitive damages of up to $1 million or the value of the bond.