Maryland
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Bail Laws
I. Applicable Statutes

A. ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND (ACM) 10-101 et seq. and Subtitle 3. Bail Bondsmen, 10-301 et seq. (Insurance licensing requirements for bondsmen.)

B. CODE OF MARYLAND REGULATIONS (COMAR) 31.03.05 et seq.(Regulates the way bondsmen conduct their business, record keeping requirements, etc.)

C. MARYLAND RULES Ė CRIMINAL CAUSES, RULE 4-217. (MARYLAND RULES are promulgated by the Maryland Court of Appeals pursuant to the Maryland Constitution, Article IV, Sec. 18. Such RULES have the force of law. RULE 4-217 treats with surrender of defendants, forfeitures, forfeiture defenses, etc.)

II. Licensing Requirements for Agents

A. In Maryland, each bail bondsmen must obtain a certificate of qualification to act as a property and casualty insurance agent, and obtain an appointment from an insurer licensed to conduct the business of surety in Maryland. The bail bondsman as a licensed insurance agent is subject to the entire Insurance article in the ACM. Bail bondsmen who pledge property instead of surety are under the jurisdiction of the District Court of Maryland, and are defined by COMAR as "property bondsmen".

B. An individual must obtain a license before providing bail bond services in Maryland. The license is identical to a certificate of qualification [ACM 1-304(a)(b)].

B. An applicant must meet the requirements for acting as a property and casualty agent or broker [ACM 1-305].

C. Qualifications of Individual Applicants [ACM 10-104].
1. Be of good character and trustworthy,
2. Have some knowledge of bail insurance,
3. For three years preceding application, have at least one year as an employee of a bail agent/insurer,
4. Pass the examination given by the Commissioner.
5. Under certain conditions the above can be waived by the Commissioner.

Qualifications of a partnership or corporation [ACM 10-106]. In order to qualify, a partnership or corporation primarily must be engaged in bail insurance.

D. The Application Process [ACM 10-112]. An applicant must
1. File the application on a form provided by the commissioner,
2. Pay the application fee,
3. File in a manner or on a form the Commissioner provides: agency or trade name to be used, business address, names and resident addresses of each person holding a certificate of qualification doing business under that name, and other information or documentation requested by the Commissioner to attest to the professional competence and good character of the applicant.
4. The applicant for the broker license must post a $10,000 bond with the Commissioner. An applicant that is a limited liability company, partnership, or corporation must provide the name and address of each agents with direct control of its fiscal management, and each owner, member, or manager.

E. Continuing Education Requirements [ACM 10-116].

1. The Commissioner shall require continuing education for agents to renew the certificate of qualification, but may not require them to receive more than 16 hours of continuing education per renewal period for those who have had a certificate for less than 25 consecutive years, or not more than 8 hours for those having the certificate for 25 or more consecutive years.

2. The agents shall obtain continuing education germane to the kind of insurance for which they have received a certificate of qualification. An insurer may not prohibit one of its agents from obtaining continuing education credits from any course approved by the commissioner.

F. The regulatory body is the Maryland Insurance Administration. (For property bondsmen, the regulatory body is the District Court of Maryland.)

III. Notice of Forfeiture [RULE 4-217 (B)(3)(i)(1)].

If the defendant fails to appear as required, the court shall order forfeiture of the bail bond and issuance of a warrant for the defendantís arrest. The clerk shall promptly notify any surety on the defendantís bond and the Stateís Attorney, of the forfeiture of the bond and the issuance of the warrant.

IV. Allotted Time Between Forfeiture Declaration and Payment Due Date [RULE 4-217 (B)(3)(i)(3)(4)(A)(B)(C)].

A. Within 90 days from the date the defendant fails to appear, which time the court may extend to 180 days upon showing good cause, a surety shall satisfy any order of forfeiture either by producing the defendant or by paying the penalty sum of the bonds. If the defendant is produced within the timeframe by the State, the forfeiture is satisfied minus the expenses incurred by the State.

B. If the forfeiture has not been stricken or satisfied within the 90 day period (or 180 days, if the time has been extended), the clerk shall enter the order of forfeiture as a judgement against the defendant and the surety for the amount of the bond including interests and costs from the date of the forfeiture, and

C. The clerk shall prepare, attest, and deliver to any bail bond commissioner, to the Stateís Attorney, to the chief clerk of the District Court, and to the surety the entry of the judgement.

D. The Stateís Attorney shall be tasked with the enforcement of the judgement.

V. Forfeiture Defenses [RULE 4-217 (B)(3)(i)(2)(A)(B)(C)(6).

A. If the defendant or surety can show reasonable ground for the failure to appear, the court shall strike out the forfeiture in whole or in part and set aside any judgement, and order the remission in whole or in part.

B. If after the expiration of the allowable period, but within 10 years from the date of the bond, the surety produced evidence that the defendant is incarcerated in a penal institution outside the state and that the Stateís Attorney is unwilling to issue a detainer and extradite the defendant, the court shall strike out the forfeiture, set aside any judgement, and order the return of the forfeiture.

VI. Remission [RULE 4-217 (B)(3)(i)(5)(6)(B)].

A. When the defendant is produced in court after the 90 day period (or 180 day period if applicable), the surety may apply for the refund of any penalty sum less expenses permitted by law. If no payment has been made by the surety, upon application by the surety and satisfaction of expenses, the judgement against the surety shall be struck.

B. If after the expiration of the allowable period, but within 10 years from the sate of the bond, the surety produced evidence that the defendant is incarcerated in a penal institution outside the state and that the Stateís Attorney is unwilling to issue a detainer and extradite the defendant, the court shall strike out the forfeiture, set aside any judgement, and order the return of the forfeiture.

VII. Bail Agentís Arrest Authority [RULE 4-217 (B)(3)(h)(1)(2)(i)(3) and RULE 722 (h)]

A. A surety may surrender the defendant before a forfeiture.

B. Within 90 days from the date the defendant fails to appear, which time the court may extend to 180 days upon showing good cause, a surety shall satisfy any order of forfeiture either by producing the defendant or by paying the penalty sum of the bonds. Upon a motion by the surety and a hearing by the court, the surety may be awarded an allowance for expenses in locating and surrendering the defendant.

VIII. Other Noteworthy Provisions

None

IX. Noteworthy State Appellate Decisions

To be added

X. Bounty Hunter Provisions

To be added




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