As we’ve mentioned before, sometimes bail bond agents get a bad reputation. In fact, we took two entire blogs to detail the many reasons that people tend to look down on them. Most often it’s because of the people we work with, and the parts of town that we’re in. Other times it’s the fact that we work at night; after all, the criminals are more likely to “work” at night, right? And, of course, people pick up on how bail bond agencies are portrayed in movies…we don’t exactly have a great representation in TV and film. In almost all circumstance, the view people have of us is completely unwarranted.

Still, there are those in any industry that will try to skirt the law and do something immoral, or even illegal, in order to drum up business. If you find that your bail bond agent is doing any of the following, you should pass them by and get another one. After all, if they’re willing to do something wrong at this point in the process, who knows what other types of trouble they could get you into? Let’s take a look at a few red flags that could pop up when you’re looking for a bondsman.

You Meet Them At the Jail or Courthouse

This one is pretty unlikely, and if it happens that means that the bail bond agent is so desperate that they’ll break the law for some business.

While passing a bail bond agent at the jail or courthouse isn’t unusual — they’re there posting bail for their clients, after all — they cannot solicit business while they are there. So if one comes up to you and hands out a business card or says something like “when they offer bail, come see me” that’s a huge red flag and is illegal. While you won’t want to start yelling at him or her about their transgression (you are in a public place and about to meet the judge, after all), it’s certainly something to mention to a lawyer or a police officer in passing.

They Solicit You In Other Ways

Just remember, a bail bond agent who approaches you for business is always doing the wrong thing. For instance, they’re not allowed to ask other people in jail to solicit for them. This might seem like a good deal for them — a person they’ve supplied bail to before is in jail, and you’re a captive audience — but it’s still an illegal act.

Also, they’re not allowed to approach your family regarding bail. Word about arrests can get out quickly, and bail bond agents tend to know who’s arrested before nearly anyone else. When they find out about your arrest, they are legally forbidden from approaching your parents or friends and soliciting their service.

Just remember: the client has to seek out the bail bond agency, not the other way around. If they come to you offering jail bail, that’s a big problem.

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…

Beware of bail rates that sound too good to be true. Because if you see a bail rate of 2-percent, here are two things that could be happening. First, they might not even be a real bail bond agent and you could be getting in league with some pretty shady people. Second, they’re going to get you into the office, get all of your information, and then start hitting you with hidden fees that will bring everything up to the legal limit. They figure once you’re in and have filled out all the paperwork that you won’t walk out the door.

Most people are pretty out-of-sorts when they’re in need of a jail bond, making it easy for less scrupulous people to take advantage of them. That’s why it’s important to do some quick research and find a reputable bail bond agent.