How to Become a Bail Bond Agent


Becoming a Bail Bond Agent isn’t as easy as one might think. As all the bail bond agents of the Los Angeles Bail Bonds Community will tell you, you can’t be someone today, and a bail bond agent tomorrow. It doesn’t even take weeks and most of the time it takes months to completely go through the entire application process, finish the education, pay the fees, and receive a license. Even at this time, you still won’t legally be allowed to write bail by yourself. So let’s get started on How to become a Bail Bond Agent.

Here’s a quick list of the essentials:

  1. 18 years of age.
  2. California Resident.
  3. Minimum 12 hours of approved prelicensing classroom study.
  4. Minimum 6 hours of approved continuing classroom study prior to renewal of bail bonds agent license.
  5. Bail Bond Application
  6. A Bond in the penal sum of $1000 executed by a California admitted surety, and signed.
  7. A Bail Bond Action Notice; executed by a surety insurer or its representative.
  8. Forms Filing List; this is a copy of the forms you will be using when posting bail for you arrestees.
  9. Fingerprints
  10. $272; license fee and examination fee.
  11. Pass the bail bonds agent’s exam administered by the California Department of Insurance.
  12. Clean record. You must be free of felonies and if you have any misdemeanors, papers and explanation and outcome of these misdemeanors must be attached.

So, that’s the quick hit list of essentials. Links will be provided at the end of the article for forms and applications needed.

Here’s the process in a whole.

Go to the California Department of Insurance. Here you’ll find all the forms and applications necessary for becoming a bail bond agent. You’ll also find access to the California Insurance Code which explains you rights and responsibilities as a bail bond agent. On this page you should download the following form. LIC 431-1, LIC 431-2, LIC 437-9, and LIC 437-23. These are the essential forms that you will be handing in to the California Department of Insurance. Now that you have the forms downloaded to your computer, what’s next?

Find an approved bail bond agent prelicensing center or classroom. Again, wander over to the CDOI website and follow the links to bail agent insurance classes. You could also try Google. Just make sure that the class is approved by the CDOI. If it isn’t, you’re wasting your time. Next, take the class, pass the class with at least a 70%. Be sure to pay attention in the bail bonds agent prelicensing class, if the instructor feels that you are just “occupying” the seat and just putting in your 12 hours seat time to get the license, you get kicked out. Also, the instructor’s job is to prepare you for the test and CDOI representatives frequently attend these classes to monitor. Since the bail bonds instructors know this, they will be making sure you pay attention and they get their job done.

Next, with a bail bond agents prelicensing education certificate in hand you make a photocopy and add that to your applications. A quick note on the bail bonds agent application. Disclose! Yes, disclose your entire background. Even if you can’t remember all the details from something 5, 10, 15 years ago. Just include on the application as much information as you can recall. Why? Failure to disclose everything is an attempt to defraud or illegally obtain a license. In the event of this occurring, the application is usually denied.

As you start to fill out the 431-1 bail bonds agent application, you’ll quickly see the top right contains two square areas for passport photos. Move through the application filling our Social Security numbers, addresses, affiliates, and everything else.

The next form to fill out is the Bond Form, called the Bond of Bail Agent form, LIC 437-9. This is basically the first bond you’ll right. This bond is written either by the company that is “sponsoring” you or employing you or it is written by you and the surety company that you are going to be contracted with. The amount of this bond is $1000.

Surety company, what is that? Well, a surety company, i.e. Fidelity, is a company that insures the bail bonds you will be writing. You have to be appointed by a surety company either directly or indirectly if you are going to write bail bonds. Indirectly is by being employed by a “General Agent” or owner of a bail bonds company, and directly if you are going to work directly with a Surety company. The only way you’ll be able to get licensed and directly work with a surety company is if you have quite a bit of experience in the bail bonds business to begin with. No surety company will back you if you don’t have any experience writing bail bonds, too much risk.

A bail action notice is next to fill out. This is basically an action notice stating that said surety appoints said bail agent who is now licensed. Simple? Just more paperwork for the lawyers to pass around. As an example, this form also works as an action notice if a bail bond agent is no longer going to keep their license. Say they quit their employer and don’t want their license, the bail bond owner must fill out the form and file it with the CDOI. Just a formal statement to produce a recorded event.

Forms Filing List: What is this? As a bail bond agent, you will be filling out and filing forms for the clients you bail out of jail. These very forms need to be approved by the Department of Insurance. If you are getting your bail bonds license and are currently working for a bail bondsman, you don’t need to do this since his/her forms have already been filed and approved by the CDOI.

Fingerprinting: If you have never been licensed before as a bail bond agent, you will need to get your fingerprints done by an approved LiveScan facility. The LiveScan facility needs to be approved by the Department of Justice. If you don’t want to look around for a LiveScan site, you can wait until your examination day and get your fingerprints done there. At each of the CDOI examination sites there are LiveScan representatives to take care of your fingerprinting needs. They will have all necessary bail bond agent fingerprinting forms for you to fill out. There is also a minimal fee that you have to pay. Getting your fingerprinting done before hand is a good idea, it will speed up the process of getting your bail bond agent license.

You will get a tracking number on your fingerprinting status, similar to FedEx tracking numbers. Plug this into the website address that they give you and you’ll receive updates on your status.

After you pass the examination and the bail bond agent license is issued, you will receive an email link to CDOI’s new “Obtain a License Online” service. Here theres’ a step by step process of what to do next. Basically you download the license in it’s PDF format. Now you can email it, put it on your site, print it for the office, or whatever other ideas you might have.

Well, that should pretty much covers it. If you have any thoughts or comments on this post, please email Darson at dharman@1800webailu.com.