SB 0246 Licenses bail bondsmen and surety recovery agents
LR Number:1042S.01I Fiscal Note:1042-01
Committee:Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence
Last Action:02/28/01 - SCS Voted Do Pass S Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Journal page:
Committee (1042S.02C)
Effective Date:August 28, 2001
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Current Bill Summary

SCS/SB 246 - This act contains new licensing provisions for bail bondsmen and surety recovery agents (bounty hunters).

PROFESSIONAL BAIL BONDSMAN LICENSING ACT - No person shall engage in the bail bond business without being licensed by the Department of Insurance. Both general bail bond agents and bail bondsmen or surety agents shall be licensed. General bail bond agents may act only through a licensed bail bond agent. A bail bond agent must hold an appointment by a general bail bond agent, and must have a numbered power of attorney.

The power of attorney for the bail bond agent shall be included with the application. Appearance bonds issued by the bail bond agent shall not exceed the amount specified in the power of attorney. Each applicant must demonstrate that he or she has obtained a bond or insurance policy of at least $300,000 for damage to persons or property caused by the applicant. Each applicant for a general bail bond agent must demonstrate liquid assets and assignment to the state in a specified amount based on the number of bail bond agents employed.

No licensee may make deals with listed officials or attorneys in order to reduce the amount of a bond. A licensee may not accept anything from a principal other than the premium or collateral security. The act lists the grounds for discipline of a licensee, as well as the procedure for such an action before the Administration Hearing Commission. The Department of Insurance shall investigate the bail bond business transacted in the state, including all violations of the bail bond law.

SURETY RECOVERY AGENT LICENSURE ACT - The act defines a surety recovery agent as any person who tracks down, captures and surrenders custody of a fugitive to the court. All surety recovery agents must be licensed by the Department of Insurance, and possess a one million dollar bond or insurance policy. The Department shall determine the sufficiency of qualifications of applicants, who must be at least 21 years of age and have competed an approved surety recovery course with at least 40 hours of training. The act provides for reciprocal licensing of surety recovery agents from other jurisdictions. The act specifies the grounds for which the Department may seek discipline of a licensee before the Administrative Hearing Commission.

A surety recovery agent shall inform local law enforcement in the city or county where the agent is planning on entering a residence in order to capture a fugitive. Local law enforcement may accompany the surety recovery agent. Failure to report to local law enforcement is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense, and a Class D felony for any subsequent violations.

A surety recovery agent with probable cause to believe a person has failed to appear in court or otherwise breached the terms of an bond may use all lawful means to arrest the person, including detaining the subject for up to 72 hours, transporting the subject to another county or state and entering upon private property in a reasonable manner. Engaging in fugitive recovery without a valid license is a Class D felony. In addition, anyone engaging in fugitive recovery who wrongfully causes damage to property or person shall be liable for such damages, and may be assessed punitive damages.

The act also provides that no person shall be certified or employed as a peace officer unless he or she is a resident of Missouri.