Understanding Financing Terms

The Differences Between A Bail Bond Agent And A Bail Enforcement Agent

Most people know what a bail bond agent is. They also know what happens to bail money when the accused "jumps bail" and does not show up for his or her hearing. What you might not know about are bail enforcement agents. There is a difference between the bond agent and the enforcement agent. These differences come into play when you are the one who put up cash or goods for bail only to have the family member jump bail and skip town.

The Bail Bond Agent by Law Is Required to Take Cash and Property for Bail Bonds

The bail bond agent takes your cash or valuable goods in exchange for a bail bond certificate. The bail bond certificate releases the accused from jail. The bond agent has an agreement with the courts that provides you with reduced bail to free your family member and reassurance to the court that the accused will appear in court on the appointed date and at the appointed time. In almost all cases, you do not get your money or goods back, even if the accused appears in court, because those goods or cash are part of the money paid to the court as an "assurety," and the rest pays the bond agent for his or her services. The bail bond agent does not pursue the accused if and when the accused jumps bail.

The Bond Enforcement Agent

A bond enforcement agent is hired to track down the bail jumper. High-profile cases are often the cause for hiring an enforcement agent, who is often referred to as a "bounty hunter" because a bounty or price has been placed on the head of the accused bail jumper. If this happens, it means that the case and the accused are very serious matters.

The bounty hunter is granted permission to find, subdue, and bring in the accused by whatever means necessary. Only death is restricted unless the accused is considered particularly violent and dangerous to apprehend. It may take a very long time for the enforcement agent or bounty hunter to track down the accused and bring him or her to justice. In the meantime, no property or goods can be returned to owners if there was some agreement to do so. You or the bail bond agent may hire the enforcement agent to track down the accused, but usually it is the consumer who put up bail that hires the enforcement agent.