Bail Bonds: How Do They Work? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/21/03

Bail Bonds: How Do They Work?

Posting bail is big business in Lubbock. At a Bail Bond office we spoke with Tuesday, they bail out upwards of 125 people a month. It's a business of trust, where bail bondsmen facilitate freedom for a premium. At Lubbock Bail Bond, Manager Ken Herzog learned about the business first hand. Mr. Herzog was arrested for a misdemeanor, he called his friends who worked as bail bondsmen, "They got me out of jail...this was a minor offense. I just started, learned the business from the ground up."

He oversees a staff of thirteen in an office open 24 hours a day. They have to be, as the competition is fierce. Lubbock has over a dozen different bail offices. Each offers easy financing, some even student discounts. Mr. Herzog says It works like insurance, "We charge a premium and as long as they make their court appearance, then that's how we make money."

Take for example, a drunk driving arrest. Bail typically runs between $1,000 and $1,500. The bail bondsman will put up that money in exchange for a premium of 7 to 15%. Making the actual cost of getting out of jail between $70 and $225. If you don't show up for court, the bondsman is liable for the full amount. It's a business of trust, where all your clients are accused of breaking the law, "Anytime you write a bond you're putting yourself at risk."

Right now three of those risks are posted on the office bulletin board, they've jumped bail. But Mr. Herzog says you won't have a problem with most people, "You'll have a problem with maybe 1 out of 100."

In the case of Dr. Thomas Butler, he was initially denied bail, because he is a flight risk. Tuesday his family paid a $10,000 premium on a $100,000 federal bond. Should he not make his appearance, he forfeits that, plus they will get a judgement against him for the full $100,000.

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