Legislation Clerk's Office Members Committees Meetings Home Senate
HB 216 - Professional Bondsmen and Bail Recovery Agents, Board of; create
Randall, William (Billy) C (127th) Dean, Douglas C. (48th) Jones, Vernon A (71st)
Status Summary HC: SJudy SC: FR: 01/26/99 LA: 01/27/99 H - Read 2nd Time

First Reader Summary

A BILL to amend Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to professions and businesses, so as to provide for the regulation of professional bondsmen and bail recovery agents; to define certain terms; to provide for the creation of the Georgia Board of Professional Bondsmen and Bail Recovery Agents; and for other purposes.

Page Numbers: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Code Sections - 43-38A-1/ 43-38A-2/ 43-38A-3/ 43-38A-4/ 43-38A-5/ 43-38A-6/ 43-38A-7/ 43-38A-8/ 43-38A-9/ 43-38A-10

House Action Senate
1/26/99 Read 1st Time
1/27/99 Read 2nd Time
Version by LC Number
LC 10 2666 As Introduced

HB 216                                             LC 10 2666 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                        A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 
                               AN ACT 
 
 
  1- 1  To amend Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, 
  1- 2  relating to professions and businesses, so as to provide for 
  1- 3  the regulation of professional bondsmen and bail recovery 
  1- 4  agents; to define certain terms; to provide for the creation 
  1- 5  of the Georgia Board of Professional Bondsmen and Bail 
  1- 6  Recovery Agents and to provide for its powers and duties and 
  1- 7  for the compensation of its members; to provide for the 
  1- 8  registration of professional bondsmen and a basic course for 
  1- 9  professional bondsmen and to require such professional 
  1-10  bondsmen to take continuing education courses on an annual 
  1-11  basis in order to engage in the practice of a professional 
  1-12  bondsman; to require bail bond recovery agents to be 
  1-13  certified and to take continuing education courses on an 
  1-14  annual basis in order to engage in the practice of a bail 
  1-15  recovery agent; to provide qualifications for a bail 
  1-16  recovery agent; to provide that no bail recovery agent shall 
  1-17  wear, carry, or display any uniform, badge, or other 
  1-18  insignia that purports to indicate or implies that such 
  1-19  person is a government official or employee; to provide for 
  1-20  bail recovery agents acting as independent contractors; to 
  1-21  provide requirements for bail recovery agents from outside 
  1-22  of the state who engage in the practice of a bail recovery 
  1-23  agent in this state; to prohibit out-of-state bail recovery 
  1-24  agents from engaging in certain activities; to provide 
  1-25  grounds for denial or revocation of certification to engage 
  1-26  in practice of a bail bond agent; to provide for hearings 
  1-27  when a certification has been denied or revoked; to provide 
  1-28  for appeals from orders of the Georgia Board of Professional 
  1-29  Bondsmen and Bail Recovery Agents; to make it unlawful under 
  1-30  certain circumstances to engage in the practice of a 
  1-31  professional bondsman or bail recovery agent; to prohibit 
  1-32  other violations of this Act; to provide penalties; to 
  1-33  provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and 
  1-34  for other purposes. 
 
  1-35       BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA: 
 
 
 
 
                                 -1- 
 
 
 
  2- 1                           SECTION 1. 
 
  2- 2  Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating 
  2- 3  to professions and businesses, is amended by adding between 
  2- 4  Chapters 38 and 39 a new Chapter 38A to read as follows: 
 
 
 
  2- 5    43-38A-1. 
 
  2- 6    As used in this chapter, the term: 
 
  2- 7      (1) 'Bail recovery agent' means a person who for 
  2- 8      compensation will apprehend and return a fugitive to a 
  2- 9      bonding company, a surety, or to jail. 
 
  2-10      (2) 'Board' means the Georgia Board of Professional 
  2-11      Bondsmen and Bail Recovery Agents. 
 
  2-12      (3) 'Professional bondsman' means a person who hold 
  2-13      himself or herself out as a signer or surety of bonds 
  2-14      for compensation. 
 
  2-15    43-38A-2. 
 
  2-16    (a) The Georgia Board of Professional Bondsmen and Bail 
  2-17    Recovery Agents, composed of five members who shall be 
  2-18    appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, is 
  2-19    created.  To qualify as a member, a person must be a 
  2-20    citizen of the United States and a resident of this state. 
  2-21    Two members must be professional bondsmen, one member must 
  2-22    be a bail recovery agent, one member shall be a sheriff, 
  2-23    and one member shall be appointed from the public at large 
  2-24    and shall have no connection whatsoever with the practice 
  2-25    or profession of professional bondsmen or bail recovery 
  2-26    agents. 
 
  2-27    (b) Members shall serve for a term of office of five 
  2-28    years; provided, however, in making the initial 
  2-29    appointments, the Governor shall appoint two members for a 
  2-30    term expiring in 2002, two members for a term expiring in 
  2-31    2003, and one member for a term expiring in 2004. 
 
  2-32    (c) Each appointee to the board shall qualify by taking an 
  2-33    oath of office within 15 days from the date of his or her 
  2-34    appointment.  On presentation of the oath, the Secretary 
  2-35    of State shall issue commissions to appointees as evidence 
  2-36    of their authority to act as members of the board. 
 
  2-37    (d) In the event of death, resignation, or removal of any 
  2-38    member, the vacancy of the unexpired term shall be filled 
  2-39    by the Governor in the same manner as other appointments. 
 
 
                                 -2- 
 
 
 
  3- 1    (e) The board shall elect a chairperson and a vice 
  3- 2    chairperson from its members for a term of one year and 
  3- 3    may appoint such committees as it considers necessary to 
  3- 4    carry out its duties. 
 
  3- 5    (f) The board shall meet at least twice each year. 
  3- 6    Additional meetings may be held on the call of the 
  3- 7    chairperson or at the written request of any two members 
  3- 8    of the board. 
 
  3- 9    (g) The joint-secretary shall keep a record of the board's 
  3-10    proceedings in a book maintained for that purpose. 
 
  3-11    (h) Each member of the board shall be reimbursed as 
  3-12    provided for in subsection (f) of Code Section 43-1-2. 
 
  3-13    43-38A-3. 
 
  3-14    (a) The board is authorized to promulgate and adopt rules 
  3-15    and regulations consistent with this chapter which are 
  3-16    necessary for the performance of its duties. 
 
  3-17    (b) The board shall prescribe application forms for 
  3-18    applicants who desire to be certified as bail recovery 
  3-19    agents. 
 
  3-20    (c) The board shall adopt an official seal and the form of 
  3-21    a certificate for a bail recovery agent of suitable 
  3-22    design. 
 
  3-23    (d) The board shall provide the basic training course for 
  3-24    professional bondsmen and bail recovery agents and the 
  3-25    continuing education courses required of professional 
  3-26    bondsmen and bail recovery agents. The board may contract 
  3-27    with the Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen, 
  3-28    educational institutions, law enforcement agencies, or 
  3-29    other organizations to conduct such training and 
  3-30    continuing education classes. The board shall not contract 
  3-31    with any entity which charges more than $250.00 per person 
  3-32    for an eight-hour continuing education course. 
 
  3-33    43-38A-4. 
 
  3-34    (a) All professional bondsmen qualified and accepted by a 
  3-35    sheriff or municipality on July 1, 1999, shall be required 
  3-36    to register with the sheriff who accepts such person or 
  3-37    the sheriff of the county where such municipality is 
  3-38    located by January 1, 2000. In addition, any such 
  3-39    professional bondsman shall be required to take a basic 
  3-40    course relating to professional bonding as approved by the 
 
 
 
                                 -3- 
 
 
 
  4- 1    board within 12 months following registration with the 
  4- 2    sheriff. 
 
  4- 3    (b) Except as provided in subsection (a) of this Code 
  4- 4    section, after January 1, 2000, any person desiring to 
  4- 5    become a professional bondsman shall be required to 
  4- 6    qualify and be accepted by a sheriff or municipality and, 
  4- 7    within six months after such acceptance, complete a basic 
  4- 8    course relating to professional bondsmen. 
 
  4- 9    (c) A professional bondsman shall be required annually to 
  4-10    complete eight hours of continuing education for 
  4-11    professional bondsmen. A person who does not meet the 
  4-12    requirements of this subsection is prohibited from signing 
  4-13    bail bonds and engaging in the practice of a professional 
  4-14    bondsman in this state until such requirements are met. 
  4-15    When a professional bondsman fails to meet the requirement 
  4-16    of this subsection, the board shall notify the sheriff or 
  4-17    municipality where a professional bondsman has been 
  4-18    qualified and accepted. The sheriff shall notify such a 
  4-19    bondsman  that he or she is no longer authorized to sign 
  4-20    bail bonds as a result of a violation of this subsection. 
  4-21    If a professional bondsman satisfies the requirements of 
  4-22    this subsection, the board shall notify the sheriff and 
  4-23    the sheriff is authorized to accept such person as a 
  4-24    professional bondsman. 
 
  4-25    43-38A-5. 
 
  4-26    (a) On and after January 15, 2000, no person shall engage 
  4-27    in the practice of a bail recovery agent without first 
  4-28    obtaining a certificate from the board. An applicant for a 
  4-29    certificate must submit an application to the board on 
  4-30    forms prescribed by the board, provide proof of 
  4-31    qualifications in the manner prescribed by the board, and 
  4-32    submit a certification fee required by the board. The 
  4-33    applicant is entitled to a bail recovery agent 
  4-34    certification if he or she possesses the qualifications 
  4-35    enumerated in this Code section, pays the required 
  4-36    certification fee, and has not committed an act which 
  4-37    constitutes grounds for denial or revocation of a 
  4-38    certification under Code Section 43-38A-7. A person shall 
  4-39    not be certified by the board to engage in the practice of 
  4-40    a bail recovery agent unless such person: 
 
  4-41      (1) Is at least 25 years of age; 
 
  4-42      (2) Is a citizen of the United States; 
 
 
 
                                 -4- 
 
 
 
  5- 1      (3) Is a person of good moral character and has not been 
  5- 2      convicted of a felony or any crime involving moral 
  5- 3      turpitude; 
 
  5- 4      (4) Qualifies for a license to carry a pistol or 
  5- 5      revolver pursuant to Code Section 16-11-129; 
 
  5- 6      (5) Qualifies annually at a certified firing range; 
 
  5- 7      (6) Before apprehending a fugitive, reports to the 
  5- 8      sheriff or local law enforcement agency in the county or 
  5- 9      municipality where the apprehension is to be made; 
 
  5-10      (7) Registers with the sheriff in the county where such 
  5-11      person resides; and 
 
  5-12      (8) Satisfactorily completes a basic course relating to 
  5-13      bail recovery agents consisting of at least 48 hours of 
  5-14      training from a school, business, or person approved by 
  5-15      the board. 
 
  5-16    (b) Certifications issued by the board shall expire 
  5-17    biennially.  As a condition of certification renewal, 
  5-18    certified bail recovery agents shall be required to 
  5-19    complete continuing education courses approved by the 
  5-20    board. 
 
  5-21    (c) A bail recovery agent who resides in this state shall 
  5-22    be required annually to complete eight hours of continuing 
  5-23    education for bail recovery agents. A person who does not 
  5-24    meet the requirements of this subsection is prohibited 
  5-25    from engaging in the practice of a bail recovery agent in 
  5-26    this state until such requirements are met. When a bail 
  5-27    recovery agent fails to meet the requirements of this 
  5-28    subsection, the board shall revoke the certification of 
  5-29    the bail recovery agent and notify the sheriffs in this 
  5-30    state of such action. If a bail recovery agent satisfies 
  5-31    the requirements of this subsection and is otherwise 
  5-32    qualified to engage in the practice of a bail recovery 
  5-33    agent, the board shall reissue such certification. 
 
  5-34    (d) No bail recovery agent shall wear, carry, or display 
  5-35    any uniform, badge, shield, or other insignia or emblem 
  5-36    that purports to indicate or implies that such person is 
  5-37    an employee, officer, or agent of the federal government 
  5-38    or of the state or any political subdivision of the state. 
 
  5-39    (e) A bail recovery agent acting as an independent 
  5-40    contractor shall be held solely responsible for his or her 
 
 
 
 
                                 -5- 
 
 
 
  6- 1    actions with respect to any liability or civil actions 
  6- 2    arising out of the conduct of the bail recovery agent. 
 
  6- 3    43-38A-6. 
 
  6- 4    A bail recovery agent residing outside of this state shall 
  6- 5    be required to meet all requirements of a bail recovery 
  6- 6    agent in his or her state of residence. If such a person 
  6- 7    from out of state is not qualified to engage in the 
  6- 8    practice of a bail recovery agent in his or her state of 
  6- 9    residence, it shall be unlawful for such person to engage 
  6-10    in the practice of a bail recovery agent in this state. 
  6-11    Such a person shall be required to employ a certified bail 
  6-12    recovery agent in this state to apprehend a fugitive in 
  6-13    this state and deliver the fugitive to the out-of-state 
  6-14    bail recovery agent. No bail recovery agent from out of 
  6-15    state shall apprehend any fugitive in this state nor have 
  6-16    a fugitive delivered to him or her by a certified bail 
  6-17    recovery agent unless such bail recovery agent from out of 
  6-18    state has a certified copy of the bail bond and a copy of 
  6-19    the court document evidencing forfeiture or failure to 
  6-20    appear. An out-of-state bail recovery agent who intends to 
  6-21    apprehend a fugitive in this state shall be required to 
  6-22    notify the sheriff or local law enforcement agency of the 
  6-23    county or municipality wherein such apprehension is to 
  6-24    occur. 
 
  6-25    43-38A-7. 
 
  6-26    The board may refuse to issue a certification to an 
  6-27    applicant desiring to engage in the practice of a bail 
  6-28    recovery agent or may revoke the certification of any 
  6-29    holder thereof if such person has: 
 
  6-30      (1) Been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving 
  6-31      moral turpitude, the record of conviction being 
  6-32      conclusive evidence of conviction; 
 
  6-33      (2) Secured the certification by fraud or deceit; or 
 
  6-34      (3) Violated or conspired to violate this chapter or 
  6-35      rules and regulations issued pursuant to this chapter. 
 
  6-36    43-38A-8. 
 
  6-37    (a) Any person whose application for certification as a 
  6-38    bail recovery agent is denied is entitled to a hearing 
  6-39    before the board if such person submits a written request 
  6-40    to the board. 
 
 
 
 
                                 -6- 
 
 
 
  7- 1    (b) Proceedings for revocation of a certification shall be 
  7- 2    commenced by filing charges with the board in writing and 
  7- 3    under oath.  The charges may be made by any person or 
  7- 4    persons. 
 
  7- 5    (c) The joint-secretary shall fix a time and place for a 
  7- 6    hearing and shall cause a written copy of the charges or 
  7- 7    reason for denial of a certification, together with a 
  7- 8    notice of the time and place fixed for hearing, to be 
  7- 9    served on the applicant requesting the hearing or 
  7-10    certificate holder against whom the charges have been 
  7-11    filed at least 20 days prior to the date set for the 
  7-12    hearing. Service of charges and notice of hearing may be 
  7-13    given by certified mail to the last known address of the 
  7-14    certificate holder or applicant. 
 
  7-15    (d) At the hearing, the applicant or certificate holder 
  7-16    has the right to appear either personally or by counsel, 
  7-17    or both, to produce witnesses, to have subpoenas issued by 
  7-18    the board, and to cross-examine the opposing or adverse 
  7-19    witnesses. 
 
  7-20    (e) The board is not bound by strict rules of procedure or 
  7-21    by the laws of evidence in the conduct of the proceedings, 
  7-22    but the determination shall be founded upon sufficient 
  7-23    legal evidence to sustain it. 
 
  7-24    (f) The board shall determine the charges on their merits 
  7-25    and enter an order in a permanent record setting forth the 
  7-26    findings of fact and law and the action taken.  A copy of 
  7-27    the order of the board shall be mailed to the applicant or 
  7-28    certificate holder at his or her last known address by 
  7-29    certified mail. 
 
  7-30    (g) On application, the board may reissue a certificate to 
  7-31    a person whose certificate has been revoked, but the 
  7-32    application may not be made prior to the expiration of a 
  7-33    period of six months after the order of revocation has 
  7-34    become final; and the application shall be made in the 
  7-35    manner and form as the board may require. 
 
  7-36    43-38A-9. 
 
  7-37    (a) A person whose application for certification as a bail 
  7-38    recovery agent has been refused or whose certificate has 
  7-39    been revoked by the board may take an appeal, within 30 
  7-40    days after the order is entered, to any court of competent 
  7-41    jurisdiction. 
 
 
 
 
                                 -7- 
 
 
 
  8- 1    (b) A case reviewed under this Code section shall proceed 
  8- 2    in the superior court by trial de novo.  Appeal from the 
  8- 3    judgment of the superior court lies as in other civil 
  8- 4    cases. 
 
  8- 5    43-38A-10. 
 
  8- 6    (a) Any person who engages in the practice of a bail 
  8- 7    recovery agent in this state without complying with the 
  8- 8    provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a 
  8- 9    misdemeanor; provided, however, that upon a second or 
  8-10    subsequent conviction of such offense, such person shall 
  8-11    be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by 
  8-12    imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five 
  8-13    years or by a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both. 
 
  8-14    (b) A professional bondsman or surety who employs or 
  8-15    contracts with a bail recovery agent who is not certified 
  8-16    or qualified to engage in the practice of a bail recovery 
  8-17    agent in this state shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; 
  8-18    provided, however, that upon a second or subsequent 
  8-19    conviction of such offense, such person shall be guilty of 
  8-20    a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not 
  8-21    less than one year nor more than five years or by a fine 
  8-22    of not more than $5,000.00, or both. 
 
  8-23    (c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (a) or (b) 
  8-24    of this Code section, any person who violates any other 
  8-25    provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a 
  8-26    misdemeanor." 
 
  8-27                           SECTION 2. 
 
  8-28  All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are 
  8-29  repealed. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                 -8- 

Clerk of the House
Robert E. Rivers, Jr., Clerk
Last Updated on 02/24/99