Local News

Bail Bondsmen Often Face Danger on the Job

Posted October 2, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Most people bailed out of jail by bondsmen return to court without incident. But, the few that put up a fight can present a very real danger to the men and women hired to bring fugitives back to justice.

Most bail bondsmen describe themselves as an extension of the jail, a private extension of the jail. They provide a service that enables people to get out on bail who otherwise might not be able to. Most bail bondsmen will also admit their business is about making money and getting their investment back, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time, and that's incentive enough to get their man.

Bail bondsmen spend a lot of the time on the phone, but when the person bailed out refuses to go back to court, it takes more than a phone call.

"Any business that requires you to take the freedom away from another man is going to be a dangerous business," said Carlyle Poindexter, bail bondsman.

Bail bondsmen have the legal right to use reasonable force to bring their client in.

"They don't want to go back to jail, it creates a dangerous environment," said Poindexter.

Bail enforcement agent Kenneth Venghaus, describes the chase as exciting, but dangerous.

It's a game that bail agents don't stop playing until they get here.

If the bondsman does not get his client back to court, he has to liquidate the bond, pay cash out of his pocket. That money goes to the county's school district. Wake County schools get hundreds of thousands of dollars from bail bondsmen every year.

North Carolina is one of only five states that requires bail bondsmen to be strictly regulated. They all have to be licensed through the Department of Insurance. Requirements are strict, including 20 hours of pre-licensing education plus 10 additional hours of education each year. Their criminal backgrounds need to be spotless.