Becoming a bondsman in Florida requires meeting several specific criteria and completing a detailed licensing process. Here's what you need to know if you're considering this career path:
To be eligible to become a bondsman, also known as a bail bond agent (limited surety agent}, in Florida, you must meet the following requirements:
1: Be at least 18 years old.
2: Hold a high school diploma or its equivalent.
3: Be a resident of the State of Florida and a United States citizen or legally authorized to work in the United States.
Training and Education
Prospective bondsmen must successfully complete a state-approved 120-hour basic certification course and a state-approved correspondence course for bail bond agents. These courses cover the criminal justice field and prepare candidates for the bail bond business.
After completing the required training, candidates must pass a final exam given by the state Department of Financial Services. They must then submit a license application online, along with all supporting materials, to the Florida Department of Financial Services. Before obtaining a full license, a temporary license and a one-year internship under a licensed Bail Bond Agent are required.
Regulations and Continuing Education
Professional bail bond agents in Florida are required to be licensed and appointed and must complete the same continuing education requirements as limited surety agents. These courses must be taken every two years as mandated by Florida Statute 626.2815 to remain updated on the laws and regulations governing the bail bond industry.
Bail bond agencies in Florida must be owned by licensed and appointed bail bond agents only. Agencies are also required to be open and accessible to the public for at least 8 hours during the normal workday.
It's important to note that neither the temporary bail bond agent license nor the limited surety (bail bond) agent license authorizes a person to carry a weapon. Florida Statutes do not specifically address bail bond agents using weapons while working.
Lastly, be aware that effective July 1, 2023, any individual licensed by the department as a temporary bail bond agent may take the required bail bond agent licensure examination.
In conclusion, the process of becoming a bondsman in Florida is structured and rigorous, ensuring that only qualified individuals can perform this critical role within the criminal justice system. By adhering to these guidelines and regulations, you can embark on a career as a bondsman in Florida, helping to facilitate the bail process and ensuring that defendants appear for their court proceedings.