Hiring a bail bondsman can, for somebody facing the prospect of going to jail or watching a loved one go to jail, make all the difference between stress and humiliation and freedom and joy. However, this is only if you know how to identify a reputed and professional bondsman at this difficult time.
To find a company like Docs Bail Bonds, we have a very old base of satisfied clients and very few complaints or grievances, you first need to understand how Texas regulates bail bondsman and the complaints.
Unlike other types of bonds offering insurance and allied services, bail bonds—formally described as Criminal Court Appearance bonds—are not regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance. In fact, the Texas Insurance Code expressly exempts bail bonds from being regulated by its provisions.
The Bail Bond Boards
In Texas, bail bond firms are regulated by the provisions of Chapter 1704 of the Texas Occupations Code. The Code requires counties with population of 110,000 or more to compulsorily setup a Bail Bond Board. For counties with lower population, setting up the Board is recommended although not mandatory.
If the county has a Board, then all agents, irrespective of whether they act as representatives of an insurance company or use nonexempt property as security, must be licensed by it. So, the first thing you need to do is to check for whether the county has a Board. If yes, then the next step is to find out whether your agent is licensed with the Board.
List of Licensed Agents
Performing the above-mentioned two checks is easy because all County Boards are required to prepare a list of licensed bail bond firms operating under their jurisdiction. This list must include all types of agents including those operating on their own and those acting as agents of a corporate surety.
Accessing this list too is easy because the rules require this list to be:
a. Shared with the local authority , usually the Sherriff, in charge of detaining prisoners in the county, and
b. Clearly displayed at every prison/location where examination of prisoners, processing of their detention, or the actual confinement takes place.
Accessing this list is a simpler and safer option as compared to searching the Yellow Pages, which rarely list Bail Bond firms in its Insurance or Bonds- Surety and Fidelity sections.
Counties without Bail Bond Board
What if your county does not have a Board? In that case, you should search for agents who are have obtained a General Lines Property and Casualty agent license from the Texas Department of Insurance. If the firm or surety does not have this license, then you ought to expand your search and prefer a firm like DocsBailBond that is licensed and authorized to offer its services even in counties without a Board.
Complaining against a Bail Bondsman
Again, the first step to file a complaint against a bail bondsman is to check whether the firm represents a corporate surety or whether the firm offers its services independently. In case of the former, all complaints related to forfeitures or refunds must be directed to the Texas Department of Insurance.
For other complaints against corporate surety agents and all complaints against other firms, you should contact either the Bail Bond Board, if established, or the County Sherriff. Make it a point to check the number of complaints filed against different firms when comparing your options. A firm like DocsBailBond that is totally committed to treating its clients in a fair and honest manner rarely gets a lot of complaints.
Once you understand how Texas regulates bail bondsman and the complaints, you can quickly identify licensed firms operating in your county and finalize the process of getting yourself or your loved one bailed from jail with minimum delays or hassles.