WHAT IS A BAIL BOND AGENT?

A bail bond agent is an individual or business appointed by a surety company to execute or countersign the insurer's bail bonds in connection with criminal judicial proceedings. Arizona Revised Statutes ("ARS") § 20-340(2).

When a person is arrested or confined for an actual or alleged violation of federal, state or local criminal law, the court may provide the defendant an opportunity to be released on bail. Bail is an amount deposited with and held by a court as a guarantee that the defendant will appear in court when required by law and will obey orders and judgments of the court. Bail can always be paid in cash. Rather than requiring a cash deposit, a court will sometimes accept bail in the form of a financial guaranty from a surety company, called a bail bond.

With a bail bond, an indemnitor pays the bail bond agent an insurance premium for the bail bond and provides the surety company (through the bail bond agent) collateral that has a value that will cover the bail amount if the defendant violates the court's conditions of release. If the defendant appears in court when required, the surety company must return the collateral to the indemnitor. ARS § 20-340.03(A)(6)

If the court finds that the defendant failed to appear without good cause, the court will issue an order causing the person who posted bail to forfeit the bail to the court. If the court accepted a bail bond in lieu of cash, the surety company must pay the bail amount to the court, but has the opportunity to recover the bail amount by apprehending the defendant. The surety company may utilize a bail bond agent or bail recovery agent to arrest the defendant. ARS § 13-3885(A) and (G).

A bail bond does not include civil bonds in connection with contracts or administrative proceedings, immigration bonds or bonds that provide guarantees for other noncriminal matters.