As of July 1, 2015 the Brunswick County jail is going to remove the current list of bail bonding companies and replace it with a list of bail bonding companies that only have offices in Brunswick county. The purpose of the change is to prevent what is known in the industry as “Trunk Bondsmen”. A “Trunk Bondsman” is a bondsman that travels to different counties working from their car trunk instead of a office. When a person is arrested, the first contact they are allowed to make is from the jail phones. From these phones inmates can call bondsmen from the provided list so that they can start the process needed in order to bail out. If a inmate calls a “Trunk Bondsman” there is a good chance that they will be waiting for hours until that bail bondsman can get to them. In most cases these “Trunk Bondsmen” have their company name added to as many county jail lists as they can in hopes of getting a large bail bond call which can earn them more money. The problem with this is that they usually will not make the trip to get you out of jail if the bond is too small. In fairness to to the inmates I think this is a good policy.
As a bail bondsman I constantly get calls from people in jail that have missed court here in Wilmington NC. We understand that things happen and people miss court from time to time. But when you miss your court date the second time and wind up back in jail this is a problem. This situation is known as a Bond”C” to bail bondsmen and clerks of the court.
Each time a bail bondsman goes to the jail to bond someone out they have to get a “conditions of release and release order” form from the jailer. This form has been filled out by the magistrate that explains what a person has been charged with, conditions of them being released, court date, and bond amount. The state of North Carolina has added wording to this form that can be checked if it applies which reads, ” This was the defendant’s second or subsequent failure to appear in this case.” This is also known as Bond “C”. When this box is checked the bail bondsman has been given notice that IF they write that bail bond and the defendant does not appear in court for the third time, the bail bondsman MUST pay the full amount of the bail bond! The bail bondsman has no recourse to save the bail bond from forfeiture as he would in normal circumstances. This is why you will you will always get a “No” from a bail bondsman when they learn that you have a Bond “C”.
The moral to the story, don’t miss court! If you do happen to miss court don’t miss it more than once because you just may be staying there until your next court date!
As an intern working for both Off The Hook Bail Bonds and Bonds by Terri I have learned a lot about what the life of a bondsman is. When I first started this internship I came in only knowing that a bondsman gets someone out of jail until their court date comes around and the bondsman is responsible for the entire bond if the defendant doesn’t show up. I didn’t realize however, what their day to day life consists of. It is not a 9-5 position; it’s 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Being a bondsman is sporadic, you can’t set a schedule on when you’ll be in the office because you never know when you’re going to get a call and have to go to the jail. Once at the jail a bail bondsman will try to get as much information as possible from the client along with a percentage of the posted bond, if the bond is high the bondsman will also require some collateral. With each client that a bondsman takes in there is a good amount of paper work to follow between intake forms, insurance papers, and keeping track of payments. Between the time that a client is out on bond and the set court date the bondsman will keep in contact to ensure the client will indeed show up for court. If the client doesn’t appear then the bondsman is responsible for the entire amount of the bond if they are unable to produce the defendant. In this case the bondsman would use various methods to track down the client and apprehend them. Such as, websites like Slammer Pics which allows bondsman’s to post mugshots of clients that are on the run and makes finding them easier using different avenues of social media as well as rewards to find them. Bail bondsman will also team up with private investigators to track down people.
Like with most services everyone likes to get a bargain. When it comes to bail bonds in Wilmington NC some bail bondsmen will quote you a ridiculously low amount of money to do a bail bond for you. Be very careful going with these companies, what they are doing is telling you this just to get you away from legitimate companies. In the contract that you sign with any bail bondsmen it states seven rules you must abide by in order to remain on bond. The second rule states that they have the right to arrest you and return you to jail without returning your money if you do not pay money owed on your bond premium. What this means to you is that for whatever reason you can’t pay on the agreed day and time, you will probably be going back to jail! Last year in New Hanover county alone there were 214 people brought back to jail by bail bondsmen for nonpayment. Don’t deal with a shady bail bondsman, make sure you ask questions and get your agreement in writing! A true good deal is only as good as how you benefit from it.
When people need to get a friend or loved one out of jail it is usually at a time when you are not prepared for this news. These days most people have a smartphone or a computer where they go to find a bail bondsman instead of a phone book. Many people have a preconceived notion as to what a bail bondsman is going to look and act like based on tv shows that they have seen. Those tv shows make for good entertainment but when you actually need a bail bonding company to help you get someone out of jail there are a couple of things you should look for when considering one.
How long have they been in business? This is your first indication that a bail bonding company is credible. What do other people think of this bail bond company? You can read reviews from other people that have used a particular bail bonding company. Does that bail bondsman give you helpful advice to your particular situation or do you feel like they are just trying get your business? A bail bondsman can’t give you legal advice but they should be able to assist you with any information pertaining to your case such as court dates, location, and legal council. Does this bail bonding company have a physical office that you can come to if you have further questions? Many bail bondsmen work out of their homes and don’t want their clients coming there so what do you do? And lastly, does this bail bonding company have a website that contains useful information and online forms that makes the bail bonding process convenient? Many people that need a bail bondsman’s assistance cant come to them to fill out paperwork if they are far away. A bail bonding company today should keep up with technology just as other professions have to improve convenience for the customer.
For several years Securus has been the collect call billing company for the Wilmington, Burgaw, and Bolivia jails. A lot of people are familiar with that recorded call that says ” This is a collect call from county jail to accept charges press one.” At a rate of $15 every time you accept a call, it won’t take long to have a huge phone bill. This may not seem like a big deal to most people but it could have effect on you if you live in Pender or Brunswick counties and know someone that has ever ended up in jail. New Hanover county jail is the only jail that gives each bail bonding company one phone number that can receive free calls from inmates. A representative for the New Hanover County Jail explained why this makes sense, ” We want these people out of the jail to relieve the taxpayer from paying these peoples living expenses .” By charging bail bondsmen the phone billing fees from Securus you could imagine what our phone bills might look like. The jails spend more money housing people that could have bonded out with their own money and let the bail bondsman assume the liability to make sure they appear in court.
It seems to me that if Brunswick and Pender County jails want to save tax payer money and reduce over crowded jails, they could follow New Hanover jail and allow bail bonding companies one free number so inmates can call and have a better chance of bonding out. Maybe this is a story topic for the local news? If you have any input on this topic we would like to hear from you!
If you are a tax paying resident of New Hanover county, do you agree with having a portion of your tax dollars going to fund a program that allows people that have committed crimes to be released out of jail with a ankle monitor? What if you were the victim of a crime, would you still want your tax dollars going to fund the program that puts a ankle monitor on a offender that offended you? Ask your city council members what their stance is on pretrial release.
Do you know who is responsible for a offender that decides to cut a ankle monitor and run from their court obligations? The answer is simple, nobody! Here is a picture of a New Hanover county officer looking for a defendant that decided to leave the courtroom and cut his ankle monitor and throw it away in the trashcan outside our office, notice the ankle monitor in his right hand. I’m not saying that pretrial programs do not have a place in trying to reduce jail space but I think the people of Wilmington should be informed of what types of offenders are eligible to receive a ankle monitor that is payed for by them. This program has expanded to include people that have been charged with violent crimes and drug charges instead of indigent and child support cases in which it was intended for.
When people are put in jail or are arrested they usually have to pay in full a bail amount set by a magistrate or hire a bail bondsman and pay a percentage of the bond amount, usually 15%. That persons bail bond can be set anywhere from hundreds to millions of dollars. With many people unable to post the bail themselves, bondsmen will bail a defendant out of jail for a nonrefundable fee. If the defendant does not appear for court and has no legitimate reason for missing a hearing or trial, the bondsman forfeits the full bail amount.
When forfeitures happen, bondsmen seeking to set aside the forfeiture by filing a motion by notifying the school system and the district attorney to give them a chance to object. Under North Carolina Statute, there are seven reasons the bondsman can file a motion for relief from the bond. If the bondsman can not file a motion that meets one of the seven reasons for relief from the bond, the full amount of that bond must be paid to the clerk of court for that county.
Under North Carolina law, the money accrued from bond forfeitures must go to the public schools in that county or court’s jurisdiction.