Bail 101

Bail 101FAQS

Who is a bail agent?

A bail agent is a private business person, who is licensed by the North Carolina Department of Insurance for the purpose of posting bail for individuals in jail.

What is a bail bond?

A bail bond is the legal instrument or contract which releases an individual from custody. The bail bond also ties contractually, the state, the bail agent and the defendant together.

How does a bail agent get paid?

A bail agent is paid a regulated fee that does not exceed a 15 percent maximum by the individual or someone on his behalf.

Do I get the premium or bond fee back?

The only money returned is collateral when required by the bail agent in certain cases.

How will I know when my case is over and my liability ends?

Your liability ends when a final disposition is entered by the state and no appeal is pending.

When is collateral required?

Collateral may be required when someone has less ties if any to the area which he is required to appear in court, has a past record of missing court or for any other reasons we deem necessary to secure a bond.

When is the collateral returned?

Collateral is to be returned within 15 days of the defendant’s case being disposed.

Are bail bonding companies allowed to use my collateral?

No, the collateral has to be placed in safekeeping or in a trust account.

If I sign for an individual and this person can’t be located, am I liable?

Yes, you would have signed an Indemnitor Agreement and Guaranty contract and are therefore financially responsible for the amount of the bond. If the person out on bond forfeits the bond by not showing up for court and they cannot be found within 150 days/five months, then the full face value of the bond is your financial responsibility and is due on demand.

What does a bail agent do?

A bail agent is involved from the point of arrest until the case is disposed, regardless of the length of time it takes. The bail agent not only gets a person out of jail, but must keep up with each court date both in district and superior courts. The bail agent must make sure his client appears for each court date and the bail agent is required to know the whereabouts of the client at all times.

If a court date is missed, the bail agent must locate the client. The bail agent will help the client obtain a new court date when an honest mistake is made. If needed, the bail agent will travel to all fifty states in order to return a client back to the court system. North Carolina bail agents have a return rate of 97.8 percent.

Does the use of private bail cost the taxpayers anything?

The private bail industry operates at no cost to taxpayers. There is no exact number of the defendants the average bail agent in North Carolina produces for court each year. However, according to the court accepted formula provided by tax-paid pretrial release programs, the suggested low estimate amounts to be $2 billion or more in savings to the state’s taxpayers per year.

Is a bail agent a bounty hunter?

No, the State of North Carolina does not recognize bounty hunters. All North Carolina bail agents that are licensed in this state must arrest their own clients. North Carolina bail agents are allowed to use bounty hunters when working in other states.


DNA Bail Bonds, LLC believes it is important to highlight the importance of private bail. The following are several benefits provided by our industry:

  1. Provides pretrial release and monitoring services at no cost to the tax payers.
  2. Provide the opportunity for many defendants to secure their freedom while awaiting disposition of their case.
  3. Reduces jail population by providing a means for defendants to obtain pretrial release.
  4. Creates an incentive to insure that defendants appear in court because the bail agent is liable for defendants who fail to appear.
  5. The bail agent’s authority to arrest provides an investigative and enforcement system to return failure to appears at no cost to the taxpayers.
  6. The bail agent’s reputation for arrest of defendants who fail to appear is an added motivation for many defendants to appear that is not present in other types of releases.