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Whatever You Call It, Bail Is Risky Business


Anyone who has experienced the relief of having a Colorado bail bonding agent get them out of jail may be surprised to hear that as of July 2012, there are no more licensed bail bonding agents in the state.


Never fear: If you find yourself locked up and need help posting bail, under Colorado bill HB12-1256 (the Bail Bond Sunset Bill), you will now contact a licensed insurance producer appointed by an insurance company who is authorized to write bail in Colorado — from your perspective, basically the same guy with a different title. From a regulatory perspective, however, the new law ties the bail bonding business and its agents more closely to the casualty insurance industry — the familiar folks you seek out to insure your home, car and possessions.

So just how is getting you out of jail like promising to pay for your fender-bender? Essentially, the similarity lies in being paid to take on risk. With casualty insurance, you pay a relatively small amount to be covered for what could be a much more costly disaster; with bail bonding, you pay the agent a relatively small amount (usually 10 to 15 percent of the bail set by the court) to get out of jail, while the bondsman takes on the risk of having to fork up the full amount if you fail to show up in court when scheduled.

To an insurer/bondsman, the possibility that a tornado will flatten your home is not much different from the possibility that, once sprung from behind bars, you will disappear. In either case, it is the insurer/bondsman who pays the price. But there is one very big difference: Insurance companies do not hire people to track down tornadoes and bring them to justice. Bond agents, on the other hand, employ people trained in bail recovery, also known as bail fugitive apprehension — and also known as bounty hunting — to find those who fly.

Incidentally, Colorado criminal defense attorneys, just for the record, are still known as Colorado criminal defense attorneys.