I. Applicable Statutes
A. VERNON'S ANNOTATED MISSOURI STATUTES TITLE XXIV. BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CHAPTER 374. DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE REGULATION OF BAIL BOND AGENTS.
B. VERNON'S ANNOTATED MISSOURI STATUTES TITLE XXXVII. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 544. ARREST, EXAMINATION, COMMITMENT AND BAIL.
II. Licensing Requirements for Agents
Missouri has extensive licensing provisions for "bail enforcement agents."
A. VERNON'S ANNOTATED MISSOURI STATUTES TITLE XXIV. BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CHAPTER 374. DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE REGULATION OF BAIL BOND AGENTS 374.700. Definitions
1. "Bail bond agent", a surety agent or an agent of a property bail bondsman who is duly licensed under the provisions of sections 374.700 to 374.775, is employed by and is working under the authority of a licensed general bail bond agent;
2. "Division", the division of insurance of the state of Missouri;
3. "General bail bond agent", a surety agent or a property bail bondsman, as defined in sections 374.700 to 374.775, who is licensed in accordance with sections 374.700 to 374.775 and who devotes at least fifty percent of his working time to the bail bond business in this state;
4. "Property bail bondsman", a person who pledges United States currency, United States postal money orders or cashier's checks or other property as security for a bail bond in connection with a judicial proceeding, and who receives or is promised therefor money or other things of value;
5. "Surety bail bond agent", any person appointed by an insurer by power of attorney to execute or countersign bail bonds in connection with judicial proceedings, and who receives or is promised money or other things of value therefor.
B. 374.710. License required for bail bond agents—exception
Except as otherwise provided in sections 374.700 to 374.775, no person or other entity shall practice as a bail bond agent or general bail bond agent, as defined in section 374.700, in Missouri unless and until the department has issued to him a license, to be renewed each year as hereinafter provided, to practice as a bail bond agent or general bail bond agent.
C. 374.715. Application, form, qualifications, fee--monetary assignment required, amount, effective when
1. Applications for examination and licensure as a bail bond agent or general bail bond agent shall be in writing and on forms prescribed and furnished by the department, and shall contain such information as the department requires.
2. Each application shall be accompanied by proof satisfactory to the department that the applicant is a citizen of the United States, is at least twenty-one years of age, is of good moral character, and meets the qualifications for surety on bail bonds as provided by supreme court rule.
3. Each application shall be accompanied by the examination and application fee set by the department. In addition, each applicant for licensure as a general bail bond agent shall furnish proof satisfactory to the department that the applicant, or, if the applicant is a corporation or partnership, that each officer or partner thereof has completed at least two years as a bail bond agent, as defined in sections 374.700 to 374.775, and that the applicant possesses liquid assets of at least ten thousand dollars, along with a duly executed assignment of ten thousand dollars to the state of Missouri, which assignment shall become effective upon the applicant's violating any provision of sections 374.700 to 374.775.
D. 374.720. Examination notice--form--content—reexamination
1. Each applicant for licensure as a general bail bond agent, after complying with this section and the provisions of section 374.715, shall be issued a license by the department unless grounds exist under section 374.755 for denial of a license.
2. Each applicant for examination and licensure as a bail bond agent, after complying with the provisions of section 374.715, shall appear for examination at the time and place specified by the department. Such examination shall be as prescribed by the director as provided under section 375.018, RSMo, and shall be designed to test the applicant's knowledge and expertise in the area of surety bonds in general and the practice of a bail bond agent, as defined in sections 374.700 to 374.775, in particular.
3. The applicant shall be notified of the result of the examination within twenty working days of the examination. Any applicant who fails such examination may, upon reapplication and payment of the reexamination fee set by the department, retake the examination.
E. 374.730. License, annual renewal, fee
All licenses issued to bail bond agents and general bail bond agents under the provisions of sections 374.700 to 374.775 shall be renewed annually, which renewal shall be in the form and manner prescribed by the division and shall be accompanied by the renewal fee set by the division.
F. 374.735. Examination not required, when
The division may, in its discretion, grant a license without requiring an examination to a bail bond agent who has been licensed in another state immediately preceding his applying to the division, if the division is satisfied by proof adduced by the applicant that his qualifications are at least equivalent to the requirements for initial licensure as a bail bond agent in Missouri under the provisions of sections 374.700 to 374.775.
G. 374.740. Nonresident license requirements
Any person applying to be licensed as a nonresident bail bond agent or nonresident general bail bond agent who has been licensed in another state shall devote fifty percent of his working time in the state of Missouri and shall file proof with the director of insurance as to his compliance, and accompany his application with the fee set by the board and, if applying for a nonresident general bail bond agent's license, with a duly executed assignment of twenty-five thousand dollars to the state of Missouri, which assignment shall become effective upon the applicant's violating any provision of sections 374.700 to 374.775. Failure to comply with this section will result in revocation of the nonresidence license. The assignment required by this section shall be in the form and executed in the manner prescribed by the division. All licenses issued under this section shall be subject to the same renewal requirements set for other licenses issued under sections 374.700 to 374.775.
H. 374.750. Refusal to issue or renew license--applicant's right to hearing
The division may refuse to issue or renew any license required pursuant to sections 374.700 to 374.775 for any one or any combination of causes stated in section 374.755. The division shall notify the applicant in writing of the reasons for the refusal and shall advise the applicant of his right to file a complaint with the administrative hearing commission as provided by chapter 621, RSMo.
I. 374.765. License requirement violation, penalties
A. Any person who practices as a bail bond agent or general bail bond agent, or who purports to be a bail bond agent, or general bail bond agent as defined in section 374.700, without being duly licensed under sections 374.700 to 374.775 is
1. For the first such offense, guilty of an infraction;
2. For the second and each subsequent offense, guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
B. Any licensed bail bond agent who knowingly violates the provisions of one or more of subdivisions (3), (4), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14), or (15) of subsection 1 of section 374.755 shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
III. Notice of Forfeiture
VERNON'S ANNOTATED MISSOURI STATUTES TITLE XXIV. BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CHAPTER 374. DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE REGULATION OF BAIL BOND AGENTS 374.763. Forfeiture of defendant's bond, failure to pay judgment--list of licensed bail bond agents to be provided
A. If any final judgment ordering forfeiture of a defendant's bond is not paid within the period of time ordered by the court, the court shall notify the department of the failure to satisfy such judgment. The director shall draw upon the assets of the surety, remit the sum to the court, and obtain a receipt of such sum from the court. The director may take action as provided by section 374.755 or 374.430, [FN1] regarding the license of the surety and any bail bond agents writing upon the surety's liability.
IV. Allotted Time between Forfeiture Declaration and Payment Due Date
No additional provisions governing this issue are found in the MO statutes other than those in the preceding and following sections.
V. Forfeiture Defenses
A. VERNON'S ANNOTATED MISSOURI STATUTES TITLE XXXVII. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 544. ARREST, EXAMINATION, COMMITMENT AND BAIL 544.610. Discharge of bailor's liability, how
The bailor at any time before final judgment against him upon a forfeited recognizance, may surrender his principal in open court or to the sheriff; and upon the payment of all costs occasioned by the forfeiture, and all costs that may accrue at the term to which the prisoner was recognized to appear, may thereupon be discharged from any further liability upon the recognizance.
B. VERNON'S ANNOTATED MISSOURI STATUTES TITLE XXIV. BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CHAPTER 374. DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE REGULATION OF BAIL BOND AGENTS 374.770. Bond forfeiture, when--exception, defendant incarcerated in United States, procedure--surety's duties--violation of bond, rights and obligations of bondsman
1. If there is a breach of the contract of the bond, the court in which the case is pending shall declare a bond forfeiture, unless the surety upon such bond informs the court that the defendant is incarcerated somewhere within the United States. If forfeiture is not ordered because the defendant is incarcerated somewhere within the United States, the surety is responsible for the return of the defendant. If bond forfeiture is ordered and the surety can subsequently prove the defendant is incarcerated somewhere within the United States, then the bond forfeiture shall be set aside and the surety be responsible for the return of the defendant. When the surety notifies the court of the whereabouts of the defendant, a hold order shall be placed by the court having jurisdiction on the defendant in the state in which the defendant is being held.
2. In all instances in which a bail bond agent or general bail bond agent duly licensed by sections 374.700 to 374.775 has given his bond for bail for any defendant who has absented himself in violation of the condition of such bond, the bail bond agent or general bail bond agent shall have the first opportunity to return such defendant to the proper court. If he is unable to return such defendant, the state of Missouri shall return such defendant to the proper court for prosecution, and all costs incurred by the state in so returning a defendant may be levied against the bail bond agent or general bail bond agent in question.
3. State v. Head (App. W.D. 1991) 804 S.W.2d 833. This section providing that surety is entitled to have bail bond forfeiture set aside if forfeiture is ordered and surety can subsequently prove that defendant is incarcerated would not be read to have additional requirement that incarceration must be as of time of bond forfeiture.
A. VERNON'S ANNOTATED MISSOURI STATUTES TITLE XXXVII. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 544. ARREST, EXAMINATION, COMMITMENT AND BAIL 544.640. Recognizance forfeited, when
If, without sufficient cause or excuse, the defendant fails to appear for trial or judgment, or upon any other occasion when his presence in court may be lawfully required, according to the condition of his recognizance, the court must direct the fact to be entered upon its minutes, and thereupon the recognizance is forfeited, and the same shall be proceeded upon by scire facias to final judgment and execution thereon, although the defendant may be afterward arrested on the original charge, unless remitted by the court for cause shown.
B. State v. Foster (App. 1974) 512 S.W.2d 448.
If a surety has taken every step possible in making defendant available to the jurisdiction of the State, so that at time of hearing for judgment on bond the only step necessary to produce defendant for trial is that an official of the State travel to a foreign prison to take custody of defendant, forfeiture of the bond should be set aside to extent that it exceeds any costs incurred by State in transporting defendant to state detention facility.
VII. Bail Agent’s Arrest Authority
VERNON'S ANNOTATED MISSOURI STATUTES TITLE XXXVII. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 544. ARREST, EXAMINATION, COMMITMENT AND BAIL 544.600. Surrender of principal, how made
When a bail desires to surrender his principal, he may procure a copy of the recognizance from the clerk, by virtue of which the bail, or any person authorized by him, may take the principal in any county within this state.
VIII. Other Noteworthy Provisions
A. VERNON'S ANNOTATED MISSOURI STATUTES TITLE XXIV. BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CHAPTER 374. DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE REGULATION OF BAIL BOND AGENTS 374.755. Complaint by division, procedure--grounds--disciplinary action
1. The division may cause a complaint to be filed against any holder of any license or any person who has failed to renew or has surrendered his license for any one or any combination of the following causes:
a. Use of any controlled substance or alcoholic beverage to an extent that such use impairs a person's ability to perform the work of the profession
b. Having entered a plea of guilty or having been found guilty of a felony;
c. Use of fraud, deception, misrepresentation or bribery in securing any license issued pursuant to sections 374.700 to 374.775 or in obtaining permission to take any examination given or required pursuant to sections 374.700 to 374.775;
d. Obtaining or attempting to obtain any compensation as a member of the profession by means of fraud, deception or misrepresentation;
e. Incompetency, misconduct, gross negligence, fraud, misrepresentation or dishonesty in the performance of the functions or duties of the profession
f. Violation of, or assisting or enabling any other person to violate, any provision of sections 374.700 to 374.775 or of any lawful rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to sections 374.700 to 374.775;
g. Transferring a license or permitting another person to use a license of the licensee;
h. Disciplinary action against the holder of a license or other right to practice the profession regulated by sections 374.700 to 374.775 granted by another state, territory, federal agency or country upon grounds for which revocation or suspension is authorized in this state;
i. Being finally adjudged insane or incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction;
j. Assisting or enabling any person to practice or offer to practice the profession who is not currently licensed and eligible to practice under sections 374.700 to 374.775;
k. Paying a fee or rebate, or giving or promising anything of value, to a jailer, policeman, peace officer, judge or any other person who has the power to arrest or to hold another person in custody, or to any public official or employee, in order to secure a settlement, compromise, remission or reduction of the amount of any bail bond or estreatment thereof;
l. Paying a fee or rebate, or giving anything of value to an attorney in bail bond matters, except in defense of any action on a bond;
m. Paying a fee or rebate, or giving or promising anything of value, to the principal or anyone in his behalf;
n. Participating in the capacity of an attorney at a trial or hearing of one on whose bond he is surety.
2. After the filing of such complaint, the proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 621, RSMo. Upon a finding by the administrative hearing commission that one or more of the causes stated in subsection 1 of this section have been met, the division may do any or all of the following:
a. Censure the person involved;
b. Place the person involved on probation on such terms and conditions as the division deems appropriate for a period not to exceed ten years;
c. Suspend, for a period not to exceed three years, the license of the person involved;
d. Revoke the license of the person involved.
B. 374.760. Unsatisfied judgments, affidavit filed monthly, form—content
Each general bail bond agent shall file, between the first and the tenth day of each month, sworn affidavits with the division stating that there are no unsatisfied judgments against him. Such affidavits shall be in the form and manner prescribed by the division.
C. 374.775. Bonds of one thousand or less--fee--additional fee—prohibited
When issuing bonds of one thousand dollars or less, licensed bail bond agents or general bail bond agents may charge a minimum premium of fifty dollars. In connection with such bonds no bail bond agent, general bail bond agent, or corporation shall charge or receive any additional fee for investigations or services rendered in connection with the execution of the bond.
IX. Noteworthy State Appellate Decisions
A. State v. Woods
984 S.W.2d 201
Missouri Appellate W.D.
January 12, 1999
Defendant was convicted in the Circuit Court, Jackson County, Edith L. Messina, J., of second-degree assault and first-degree trespassing for breaking and entering victim's home in search of bond jumper and for shooting victim. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeals, Ulrich, P.J., held that:
(1) there was sufficient evidence that defendant knowingly entered unlawfully residence that was not bond jumper's to support trespass conviction;
(2) no instruction on ignorance or mistake of the law was warranted; and
(3) tape of emergency 911 call made by defendant's partner after incident was excludable. Affirmed.
B. State v. Siemens
12 S.W.3d 776
Missouri Appellate W.D.
March 7, 2000
Bonding company moved to set aside judgment ordering forfeiture of bond for accused's failure to appear at trial, claiming that accused was incarcerated after initial order of forfeiture. The Circuit Court, Linn County, Gary E. Ravens, J., denied motion. Bonding company appealed. The Court of Appeals, Laura Denvir Stith, P.J., held that Circuit Court was statutorily required to set aside forfeiture. Reversed and remanded with directions.
C. State ex rel. Wright v. Poelker
548 S.W.2d 285.
Missouri Appellate W.D.
Activity engaged in by deputy marshal of city while on leave of absence, acting as bail bondsman in city courts, constituted "conflict of interest" justifying dismissal from position as deputy marshal where, at time of commission hearing resulting in dismissal, judgments of forfeiture on bonds signed by him were still outstanding where, if he were reinstated at time he requested it, it would be possible for further forfeitures to occur on bonds written while he was on leave, and where testimony of city marshal indicated that part of his job included collecting on bail bond judgments.
D. State v. Head
804 S.W.2d 833.
Missouri Appellate W.D.
Surety was entitled to have bail bond forfeiture set aside, even though neither surety nor defendant appeared at time of hearing, where surety subsequently surrendered defendant to sheriff, and defendant was incarcerated at time of motion to set aside forfeiture.
E. State v. Cummings
724 S.W.2d 316.
Missouri Appellate W.D.
Bail bond agent, whom State claimed had not acted with diligence or had acquiesced or participated in removal of defendant to another jurisdiction, nevertheless was entitled to have bail bond forfeiture set aside, where defendant was incarcerated in federal prison.
F. State v. Virgilito
377 S.W.2d 361.
Missouri Superior Court
Ten-year statute, governing actions upon writing for payment of money, rather than three-year statute (§ 516.130), governing actions for penalty or forfeiture, was applicable to proceeding on motion for default judgment on bail bond.
X. Bounty Hunter Provisions
At this time, there appear to be no specific regulations for "Bounty Hunters" in the Missouri statutes.