District of Columbia Laws Regarding Bail Bonds & Bounty Hunters
Below is basic information on bail bond laws for District of Columbia concerning Bail Enforcement, Bounty Hunters, Fugitive Apprehension and Bail Bondsman. This is not legal advice. Laws change frequently, please check the links provided for possible updates and current information.
In practice, commercial bail in D.C. in almost non-existent.
- District of Columbia bail bond law state statutes:
- District Of Columbia Code 1981 Part IV. Criminal Law And Procedure And Prisoners. Title 23. Criminal Procedure. Chapter 11. Professional Bondsmen.
- Michie’s District Of Columbia Court Rules Annotated Superior Court Rules Of Criminal Procedure XI. Miscellaneous Provisions. Rule 116. Bonds and sureties.
- District of Columbia licensing requirements for Bail agents:
The District of Columbia’s statutes do not appear to clearly outline the powers of professional bondsmen in regard to recovering bail. The statutes define a “bondsman” as anyone engaged in the bonding business, including agents. Therefore, some of the more pertinent qualifications – in regard to individuals and for licensing purposes – for sureities are given below, since both sureties and bondsmen appear to be able to carry out activities associated with the bonding business.
District Of Columbia Code 1981 Part IV. Criminal Law And Procedure And Prisoners. Title 23. Criminal Procedure. Chapter 11. Professional Bondsmen.§ 23-1101 Definitions.
- The term “bondsman” means any person or corporation engaged in the bonding business either as a principal or as an agent, clerk, or representative of another engaged in such business.
- § 23-1108 Qualifications of bondsmen; rules to be prescribed by courts; list of agents to be furnished; renewal of authority to act; detailed records to be kept; penalties and disqualifications.
- Duty of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to provide, the qualifications of persons and corporations applying for authority to engage in the bonding business in criminal cases in the District of Columbia, and the terms and conditions upon which the business shall be carried on, and no person or corporation shall, either as principal, or as agent, or representative of another, engage in the bonding business in either court until he shall, by order of the court, be authorized to do so.
- The courts shall take into consideration both the financial responsibility and the moral qualities of the person so applying, and no person shall be permitted to engage, either as principal or agent, in the bonding business, who has ever been convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude, or who is not known to be a person of good moral character.
- Every person qualifying to engage in the bonding business as principal is required to file with the court a list showing the name, age, and residence of each person employed by the bondsman as agent, clerk, or representative in the bonding business, and an affidavit from each of these persons stating that he will abide by the terms and provisions of this chapter.
- Each of the courts shall require the authority of each of those persons to be renewed from time to time at such periods as the court may by rule provide, and before the authority shall be renewed the court shall require from each of those persons an affidavit that since his previous qualification to engage in the bonding business he has abided by the provisions of this chapter, and any person swearing falsely in any of the affidavits shall be guilty of perjury.
- Whoever violates any rule or regulation prescribed under this subsection shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both, and if he is a bondsman shall be disqualified from thereafter engaging in any manner in the bonding business for such period of time as the trial judge shall order.
MICHIE’S DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT RULES ANNOTATED SUPERIOR COURT RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE XI. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS. Rule 116. Bonds and sureties.
- Except by Court order no person shall be authorized to engage in the bonding business in criminal cases in this Court. No order of authorization shall be entered until such application and such supporting documents as are hereinafter required shall have been filed and the approval by this Court shall have been noted thereon.
- Contents of application. Every individual proposing to engage in the bonding business in criminal cases in this Court shall file with the Court a written application which shall set forth the following information and statements under oath:
(i) A detailed listing of real estate owned by the applicant in the District of Columbia, including: the address, lot, value, date of title, purchase price, the liber and folio of the land records; that the property is not encumbered; improvements; the nature and extent of a spouse’s title or interest;
(ii) The amount of the applicant’s unsecured indebtedness and obligations;
(iii) Whether the applicant is, or has been, in default in the payment of forfeited bail bond or recognizance in any court in the District of Columbia, the amount of bail bond or recognizance on any default recited, the date of forfeiture, the court, title and number of the cause in which such forfeiture was declared;
(iv) Whether the applicant has ever been arrested, charged or convicted of any offense;
(v) Proof of applicant’s good moral character, attested by the statements of at least 2 residents of the District of Columbia not related to the applicant, and who shall so certify;
(vi) A declaration by the applicant that the applicant will in all respects abide by the terms and provisions of these Rules and Chapter 11 of Title 23 of the D.C. Code;
(vii) A listing of the name, age and residence of each and every person authorized to represent the applicant as agent, clerk or representative in the bonding business, accompanied by an affidavit from each person listed, declaring that the person will in all respects abide by the terms and provisions of these Rules and Chapter 11 of said Title 23;
(viii) Each person holding a power of attorney from an authorized individual surety shall file a duplicate original copy thereof with the Clerk of this Court;
(ix) The application shall also recite a declaration to which the applicant shall fully agree and subscribe in which he or she commits not to sell, convey, or mortgage any listed real estate without obtaining leave of the court.
- Applications shall be filed on or before the 10th day of January of each 2nd year thereafter, or oftener if required by the Court, by each individual surety desiring to continue in said business, which application must receive the approval of the Court before the surety shall be entitled to continue to appear as surety on bonds or recognizances in this Court.
- With each application for renewal there shall also be filed an affidavit to the effect that since the surety’s previous qualifications the surety has in all respects abided by the terms and provisions of these Rules and Chapter 11 of said Title 23, together with a certificate of the Clerk of this Court wherein it is stated that the Clerk has examined the records of the applicant and found them to be in good order as to form.
- The original application of every individual proposing to engage in the bonding business, and every application for renewal of authority to continue herein, shall state the aggregate amount of bonds or recognizance in any court of the District of Columbia upon which such person is surety.
- Fingerprinting. The applicant shall submit to the taking of the applicant’s fingerprints by the Clerk of this Court, as shall each person authorized to represent the applicant as agent, clerk or representative in the bonding business. On all renewals, the Clerk of the Court, with the approval of the Chief Judge, may waive the requirement for refingerprinting.
- District of Columbia bail agent’s arrest authority.
- (The statutes do not appear to provide any explicit arrest authority for bail agents. However, the power to arrest seems to be implied given the function of bail bonding business as described in the statutes. Common law tradition is also almost certain to provide this authority.)
- District of Columbia bounty hunter (fugitive apprehension) provisions:
- At this time, there appear to be no specific regulations for “Bounty Hunters” in the District of Columbia statutes.
- Links to State and Local Authorities:
Please check with the District of Columbia’s Department of Insurance, Licensing Board and/or Local Law Enforcement for the most recent updates. If you know of any updates to a District of Columbia’s bail bond laws, please provide as much detail as possible and send to us using our contact form.