Washington
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Bail Laws


I. Applicable Statutes

A. WEST'S REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON ANNOTATED TITLE 10. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 10.19. BAIL AND APPEARANCE BONDS.

B. WEST'S REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON ANNOTATED TITLE 18. BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS CHAPTER 18.185. BAIL BOND AGENTS

Licensing Requirements for Agents

A. WEST'S REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON ANNOTATED TITLE 18. BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS CHAPTER 18.185. BAIL BOND AGENTS 18.185.010. Definitions

1. "Department" means the department of licensing.
2. "Director" means the director of licensing.
3. "Bail bond agent" means a person who is employed by a bail bond agency and engages in the sale or issuance of bail bonds, but does not mean a clerical, secretarial, or other support person who does not participate in the sale or issuance of bail bonds.

B. 18.185.020. Agent license requirements. An applicant must meet the following minimum requirements to obtain a bail bond agent license:

1. Be at least eighteen years of age;
2. Be a citizen or resident alien of the United States;
3. Not have been convicted of a crime in any jurisdiction in the preceding ten years, if the director determines that the applicant's particular crime directly relates to a capacity to perform the duties of a bail bond agent and the director determines that the license should be withheld to protect the citizens of Washington state. If the director shall make a determination to withhold a license because of previous convictions, the determination shall be consistent with the restoration of employment rights act, chapter 9.96A RCW;
4. Be employed by a bail bond agency or be licensed as a bail bond agency; and
5. Pay the required fee.

C. 18.185.040. License applications

1. Applications for licenses required under this chapter shall be filed with the director on a form provided by the director. The director may require any information and documentation that reasonably relates to the need to determine whether the applicant meets the criteria, which may include fingerprints.

2. After receipt of an application for a license, the director may conduct an investigation to determine whether the facts set forth in the application are true.

D. 18.185.050. License cards, certificates--Advertising--Notice of changes

1. The director shall issue a bail bond agent license card to each licensed bail bond agent. A bail bond agent shall carry the license card whenever he or she is performing the duties of a bail bond agent and shall exhibit the card upon request.

2. The director shall issue a license certificate to each licensed bail bond agency.

a. Within seventy-two hours after receipt of the license certificate, the licensee shall post and display the certificate in a conspicuous place in the principal office of the licensee within the state.

b. It is unlawful for any person holding a license certificate to knowingly and willfully post the license certificate upon premises other than those described in the license certificate or to materially alter a license certificate.

c. Every advertisement by a licensee that solicits or advertises business shall contain the name of the licensee, the address of record, and the license number as they appear in the records of the director.

d. The licensee shall notify the director within thirty days of any change in the licensee's officers or directors or any material change in the information furnished or required to be furnished to the director.

E. 18.185.060. Prelicensing training requirements

1. The director shall adopt rules establishing prelicense training and testing requirements, which shall include a minimum of four hours of classes. The director may establish, by rule, continuing education requirements for bail bond agents.

2. The director shall consult with the bail bond industry before adopting or amending the prelicensing training or continuing education requirements of this section.

3. The director may appoint an advisory committee consisting of representatives from the bail bond industry and a consumer to assist in the development of rules to implement this chapter.

4. A bail bond agent need not fulfill the prelicensing training requirements of this chapter if he or she, within sixty days prior to July 1, 1994, provides proof to the director that he or she previously has met the training requirements of this chapter or has been employed as a bail bond agent for at least eighteen consecutive months immediately prior to the date of application.

F. See also:
1. 18.185.055. License suspension--Nonpayment or default on educational loan or scholarship
2. 18.185.057. License suspension--Noncompliance with support order—Reissuance
3. 18.185.090. Notice concerning agent's status
4. 18.185.110. Prohibited acts
5. 18.185.140. Charges against licensee or applicant—Hearing

III. Notice of Forfeiture

WEST'S REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON ANNOTATED TITLE 10. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 10.19. BAIL AND APPEARANCE BONDS 10.19.090. Forfeiture, exoneration of recognizances--Judgment—Execution

In criminal cases where a recognizance for the appearance of any person, either as a witness or to appear and answer, shall have been taken and a default entered, the recognizance shall be declared forfeited by the court, and at the time of adjudging such forfeiture said court shall enter judgment against the principal and sureties named in such recognizance for the sum therein mentioned, and execution may issue thereon the same as upon other judgments. If the surety is not notified by the court in writing of the unexplained failure of the defendant to appear within thirty days of the date for appearance, then the forfeiture shall be null and void and the recognizance exonerated.

IV. Allotted Time between Forfeiture Declaration and Payment Due Date

WEST'S REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON ANNOTATED TITLE 10. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 10.19. BAIL AND APPEARANCE BONDS 10.19.100. Stay of execution of forfeiture judgment--Bond

The parties, or either of them, against whom such judgment may be entered in the superior or supreme courts, may stay said execution for sixty days by giving a bond with two or more sureties, to be approved by the clerk, conditioned for the payment of such judgment at the expiration of sixty days, unless the same shall be vacated before the expiration of that time.

V. Forfeiture Defenses

A. WEST'S REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON ANNOTATED TITLE 10. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 10.19. BAIL AND APPEARANCE BONDS10.19.105. Forfeiture judgment vacated on defendant's production--When

If a bond be given and execution stayed, as provided in RCW 10.19.100, and the person for whose appearance such recognizance was given shall be produced in court before the expiration of said period of sixty days, the judge may vacate such judgment upon such terms as may be just and equitable, otherwise execution shall forthwith issue as well against the sureties in the new bond as against the judgment debtors.

B. 10.19.160. Surrender of person under surety's bond

The surety on the bond may return to custody a person in a criminal case under the surety's bond if the surrender is accompanied by a notice of forfeiture or a notarized affidavit specifying the reasons for the surrender. The surrender shall be made to the facility in which the person was originally held in custody or the county or city jail affiliated with the court issuing the warrant resulting in bail.

VI. Remission

The Washington statutes do not currently contain any provisions dealing specifically with "remission" of bail forfeiture.

VII. Bail Agent’s Arrest Authority

A. WEST'S REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON ANNOTATED TITLE 7. SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS AND ACTIONS CHAPTER 7.44. NE EXEAT 7.44.030. Recognizance of defendant

The sheriff shall require the defendant to enter into a bond, with sufficient surety, personally to appear within the time allowed by law for answering the complaint, and to abide the order of the court; and in default thereof the defendant shall be committed to prison until discharged in due course of law; such special bail shall be liable for the principal, and shall have a right to arrest and deliver him up, as in other cases, and the defendant may give other bail.

B. WEST'S REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON ANNOTATED TITLE 10. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 10.19. BAIL AND APPEARANCE BONDS 10.19.160. Surrender of person under surety's bond

The surety on the bond may return to custody a person in a criminal case under the surety's bond if the surrender is accompanied by a notice of forfeiture or a notarized affidavit specifying the reasons for the surrender. The surrender shall be made to the facility in which the person was originally held in custody or the county or city jail affiliated with the court issuing the warrant resulting in bail.

VIII. Other Noteworthy Provisions

WEST'S REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON ANNOTATED TITLE 18. BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS CHAPTER 18.185. BAIL BOND AGENTS 18.185.070. Bond

A. No bail bond agency license may be issued under the provisions of this chapter unless the qualified agent files with the director a bond, executed by a surety company authorized to do business in this state, in the sum of ten thousand dollars conditioned to recover against the agency and its servants, officers, agents, and employees by reason of its violation of the provisions of RCW 18.185.100. The bond shall be made payable to the state of Washington, and anyone so injured by the agency or its servants, officers, agents, or employees may bring suit upon the bond in any county in which jurisdiction over the licensee may be obtained. The suit must be brought not later than two years after the failure to return property in accordance with RCW 18.185.100. If valid claims against the bond exceed the amount of the bond or deposit, each claimant shall be entitled only to a pro rata amount, based on the amount of the claim as it is valid against the bond, without regard to the date of filing of any claim or action.

Every licensed bail bond agency must at all times maintain on file with the director the bond required by this section in full force and effect. Upon failure by a licensee to do so, the director shall suspend the licensee's license and shall not reinstate the license until this requirement is met.

In lieu of posting a bond, a qualified agent may deposit in an interest- bearing account, ten thousand dollars.

The director may waive the bond requirements of this section, in his or her discretion, pursuant to adopted rules.

IX. Noteworthy State Appellate Decisions

A. Johnson v. County of Kittitas
11 P.3d 862
Washington Appellate Court, Division 3
November 2, 2000

Surety who wrote bail bonds brought action for a declaratory judgment interpreting statute governing the surrender of persons released on bail. Following a hearing, the Superior Court, Kittitas County, Michael Cooper, J., entered judgment which interpreted statute against surety in part and against county in part. Surety appealed. The Court of Appeals, Brown, A.C.J., held, as matters of first impression, that: (1) surety could effectuate surrender of his principal with either a notice of forfeiture or an affidavit stating the reasons compelling the surrender, which were not limited to failure to appear, bail bond forfeiture and bench warrant, and (2) county corrections center was required to accept prisoners for out-of-county surrenders when legally established. Reversed.

B. State v. Hampton
107 Wash.2d 403
728 P.2d 1049.
1986

Trial court's failure to provide any reasons for its refusal to vacate bail forfeiture was abuse of discretion, as it did not provide appellate court with means of determining whether decision was based on tenable grounds or reasons.

C. State v. Bailey
121 Wash. 413
209 P. 847
1922

Where prisoner is returned to custody of sheriff within sixty days after forfeiture of bail money, assignee of bailor is entitled to return of money.

X. Bounty Hunter Provisions

At this time, there appear to be no specific regulations for "Bounty Hunters" in the Washington statutes.


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