I. Applicable State Statutes
A. INDIANA CODE [IC] 27-10-1 to 27-10-5-3.
B. IC 35-33-1-4 to 35-41-3-3.
C. IC 760 DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE. 760 IAC 1-6.2 governs the actions of bail agents and recovery agents.
II. Licensing Requirements for Agents [27-10-3-3]
A. Bail Agentís License. Licenses can only be issued to individuals [27-10-3-1 (b) (2)] not to a firm, corporation, or association [27-10-3-1 (c)]. Applicant must meet the following requirements:
1. At least 18 and of good moral character [27-10-3-3 (a) (1)]
2. Never convicted of a disqualifying offense as set out in [IC 25-1-1.1] and 10 years having lapsed after a felony conviction, and 5 years after a misdemeanor [27-10-3-3 (a) (2)],
3. Has knowledge of or instruction in the bail bond business or has held a valid all lines fire and casualty license for 1 year within the last 5, or has been employed by a bail bond company for 1 year of the last 5 [27-10-3-3 (a) (3)],
4. Be a resident of Indiana for 1 year from date of application (waivable) [27-10-3-3 (b)],
5. Pay license fee ($650) and examination fee ($100) [27-10-3-4 (a)] , submit fingerprints (certified by law enforcement) and photo [27-10-3-4 (b)],
6. Take and pass in person a written examination prepared by the commissioner [27-10-3-6].
B. The regulatory body is the Department of Insurance (DOI) [27-10-2-1]
III. Notice of Forfeiture. [27-10-2-12]
Indiana has a combination of late surrender fees and forfeiture. If the defendant does not appear as required by the bond, the clerk shall mail a notice to both the agent and the surety (at their addresses indicated on the bond) of an order by the court to them to surrender the defendant to the court immediately [27-10-2-12 (a)(2) (A)(B)]. The surety has 365 days after the date of the written notice to produce the defendant. If he does not comply, the court shall declare a forfeiture in the amount of 20% of the face of the bond and immediately enter judgement and assess against the surety all actual cost associated with the defendantís FTA [27-10-2-12(d)]. Within the 365 day period, the surety can surrender the defendant subject to a late surrender fee. See Below in Section IV.
IV. Allotted Time Between Forfeiture Declaration and Due Date
A. The bail agent or surety must produce the defendant or prove within 365 days that there was a legitimate reason for defendantís failure to appear. If the agent or surety does not comply with the foregoing terms within 120 days after the clerk mails the notice, they will be assessed a late surrender fee according to the following:
1. If compliance occurs more than 120 days but less than 180, the fee is 20% of the bond,
2. If more than 180 days but less than 210, the fee is 30% of the bond,
3. If more than 210 days, but less than 240, late surrender fee is 50%,
4. More than 240, but less than 365, the fee is 80%,
5. Non compliance after 365 days, the fee is 80%. [27-10-2-12(c)(1) through (5)].
B. Tolling is allowed in the sense that the court can waive the late surrender fee or extend the period of payment if
1. A written request is filed with the court and the prosecutor [27-10-2-12(e)(1)],
2. The surety provides evidence that diligent effort was made to find the defendant [27-10-2-12(e)(2)].
C. Non payment of fees, costs or judgments, etc. result in the revocation of the insurerís license [27-10-2-12(f)] which a surety can appeal [27-10-2-12(h)].
V. Forfeiture Defenses
If the surety cannot produce the defendant, he must prove that the defendantís appearance was prevented by illness or death, the defendantís being custody elsewhere in the US, or the required notice was not given [27-10-2-12(b)(A)(i)-(iii)].
There is no remission period.
VII. Suretyís Arrest Authority
For purpose of surrendering the defendant, the surety may apprehend the defendant before or after the forfeiture of the undertaking or may empower a law enforcement officer to do so by providing written authority on a certified copy of the undertaking and the payment of lawful fees [27-10-2-7].
VIII. Other Noteworthy Provisions
A surety may surrender the defendant without return of premium if the defendant fails to report a change of address, conceals himself, leaves the jurisdiction of the court without permission, violates his contract with the surety in a way that does harm to the surety or violates the defendantís obligation to the court. [27-10-2-5 (a)(b)].
IX. Noteworthy Court Decisions
(To be added.)
X. Bounty Hunter Provisions
Recovery agents must be licensed. [IC 27-10-3-1 (1997)] To obtain a license, recovery agents must be at least 18 years old, be a citizen of the US, be a resident of the state for at least 6 months, at least 10 years must have elapsed after any felony conviction to obtain a license (5 years for misdemeanor), [IC 27-10-3-5], and they must pass an examination given by the State [IC 27-10-3-6]. Recovery agents must notify the sheriff in their respective locales of residence [IC 127-10-3-17], and bail agents must give the state a list of recovery agents they employ [IC 27-10-3-14]. Bail agents and bounty hunters cannot forcibly enter the home of a third party. [Mishler v State, 660 N. E. 2nd 343 (Ind. App. 1996).]