West Virginia Bail Laws 1. Applicable Statutes. - AIA Bail Bond Surety

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West Virginia Bail Laws 1. Applicable Statutes. - AIA Bail Bond Surety

West Virginia Bail Laws

1. Applicable Statutes.

A. WEST VIRGINIA CODE 1966 CHAPTER 51. COURTS AND THEIR OFFICERS.

ARTICLE 10A. BAIL BOND ENFORCERS.

B. WEST VIRGINIA CODE 1966 CHAPTER 62. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE. ARTICLE

1C. BAIL.

2. Licensing Requirements for Agents.

A. WEST VIRGINIA CODE 1966 CHAPTER 51. COURTS AND THEIR OFFICERS.

ARTICLE 10A. BAIL BOND ENFORCERS. § 51-10A-1 Definitions.

• (a) "Bail bondsman" means any person, partnership or corporation engaged

for profit in the business of furnishing bail, making bonds or entering into

undertakings, as surety, for the appearance of persons charged with a

criminal offense or violation of law punishable by fine or imprisonment before

any court within or without this state. The term "bail bondsman" includes, but

is not limited to, persons conducting a bonding business as defined in section

one [§ 51-10-1], article ten of this chapter.

• (b) "Bail bond enforcer" means a person who on behalf of a bail bondsman

enters this state or is present in this state for the purposes of: (1) Assisting a

bail bondsman in presenting the defendant in court when required; (2)

assisting in the apprehension and surrender of the defendant to a court; (3)

keeping a defendant under surveillance; or (4) executing bonds on behalf of a

bail bondsman when a power of attorney has been duly recorded. The term

"bail bond enforcer" does not include a duly licensed attorney-at-law or a law-

enforcement officer assisting a bail bondsman.

B. § 51-10A-2 Registration of bail bond enforcers and authorization by bail

bondsman required; fees.

• (a) No person may act in the capacity of a bail bond enforcer within this state

or perform any of the functions, duties, or powers prescribed for bail bond

enforcers under section one [§ 51-10A-1] of this article unless duly registered

with the West Virginia state police as provided in this section.

• (b) The superintendent of the West Virginia state police shall design

registration, authorization and notice forms, which, at minimum, shall

require:

(1) Identifying information as to the registrant and at least one

bail bondsman on whose behalf he or she is authorized to act

as agent: Provided, That a registrant may not act on behalf of

any bail bondsman until authorization to act is filed with the

superintendent;

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(2) A complete set of the registrant's fingerprints, certified by

an authorized law enforcement officer;

(3) A recent credential-sized, full-face photograph of the

registrant;

(4) Certification, under penalties of perjury, that the registrant

is at least twenty-one years of age, is a citizen of the United

States, and has never been convicted of a felony in any state of

the United States;

(5) Authorization in writing, as provided in subsection (b) or (c)

of this section, from any bail bondsman on whose behalf the

bail bond enforcer is authorized to enter this state or act within

this state; and

(6) Other information as the superintendent determines is

reasonable and necessary.

• (c) A bail bondsman conducting a bonding business in this state may grant

continuing authorization to a bail bond enforcer who is a citizen and resident

of this state to act as his or her agent on a continuing basis, for a period of

time not to exceed two years, either statewide or within named counties or

judicial circuits of the state, with respect to all defendants for whom the bail

bondsman acts as surety to secure an appearance. A continuing authorization

shall state the expiration date of the authorization on the face of the

document.

• (d) A bail bondsman within or without this state may grant authorization to a

bail bond enforcer within or without this state to act as his or her agent with

respect to a named defendant or named defendants, for a period of time not

to exceed sixty days, in which case notice in advance of any action to the

West Virginia state police of the time and place of any proposed action within

this state with respect to any defendant, and the date any bail bond enforcer

who is not a resident of this state will enter the state, is required. An

authorization shall state the expiration date of the authorization on the face of

the document.

• (e) The superintendent may require any reasonable interrogatories or

examinations relating to a registrant's qualifications or other matters which

are reasonably necessary to protect the public.

• (f) (1) The superintendent may establish and collect a reasonable registration

fee not to exceed fifty dollars to accompany registration, and a filing fee not

to exceed ten dollars to accompany the filing of any authorization, to be used

for the purposes of defraying administrative and other expenses incurred due

to the enactment of this article. No fee is authorized for the filing of notices

required under this article.

• (g) The superintendent is authorized to file and disseminate an interpretive

rule for the purpose of providing information and guidance to prospective

registrants, bail bondsmen, and the general public with respect to the

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enforcement of this article. The superintendent is charged with the

enforcement of this article in the civil and criminal courts of the state and

may take any lawful action reasonably necessary to effectuate its purposes.

C. § 51-10A-3 Effect of authorization.

• A bail bond enforcer authorized or employed by a bail bondsman to act within

this state with respect to any defendant whose custody or appearance the bail

bond enforcer secures or attempts to secure, is the agent of the bail

bondsman for any act related to the purposes set forth in section one [§ 51-

10A-1] of this article. A bail bond enforcer who acts in that capacity within

this state is the agent of the bail bondsman with whom the bail bond enforcer

has an agreement or written or verbal contract, whether or not authorization

is filed with the West Virginia state police as required in section two [§ 51-

10A-2] of this article.

D. § 51-10A-4 Prohibited conduct.

• A bail bond enforcer may not:

(a) Enter an occupied residential structure without the consent

of the occupants who are present at the time of the entry;

(b) Conduct a bail recovery arrest or apprehension without

written authorization from a bail bondsman;

(c) Wear, carry or display any uniform, badge, shield or other

insignia or emblem that implies that the bail bond enforcer is

an employee, officer or agent of this state, a political

subdivision of this state or the federal government. A bail bond

enforcer may display identification that indicates his or her

status as a bail bond enforcer only; or

(d) Conduct a bail bond apprehension or arrest without

exercising due care to protect the safety of persons other than

the defendant and the property of persons other than the

defendant.

E. § 51-10A-5 Unauthorized acts; penalties.

• (a) A person who willfully violates any provision of section four [§ 51- 10A-4]

of this article, or who acts as a bail bond enforcer within this state without

filing a registration, authorization or notice required by this article, is guilty of

a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than five

hundred or more than ten thousand dollars, or imprisoned in the county jail

not more than sixty days, or both fined and imprisoned.

• (b) A bail bondsman who, without filing the authorization required in this

article, employs or contracts with a bail bond enforcer who enters this state or

acts on the bondsman's behalf within this state; who authorizes an

unregistered bail bond enforcer to act on his or her behalf; or whose agent

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acts in a manner prohibited in section four [§ 51-10A-4] of this article, is

subject to a civil penalty of ten thousand dollars, enforceable by civil action in

the circuit court of Kanawha County or the circuit court of any county in which

the unauthorized action as a bail bond enforcer has occurred. The

superintendent of the West Virginia state police is authorized to enforce

payment of civil penalties through the courts of this state. Civil penalties

pursuant to this section are payable one-half to the state police death,

disability and retirement fund and one-half to the crime victims compensation

fund.

3. Notice of Forfeiture

A. WEST VIRGINIA CODE 1966 CHAPTER 62. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE. ARTICLE

1C. BAIL. § 62-1C-9 Same -- Enforcement.

• When a forfeiture has not been set aside, the court or justice [magistrate],

upon motion of the State, shall enter a judgment of default and execution

may issue thereon: Provided, That if the forfeiture is declared in a court of

record, the order taking judgment shall be entered at the same term of court

in which the forfeiture was declared: And Provided further, That if the deposit

for bail be by a person other than the defendant, or if the bail be in the form

of recognizance, such person making the deposit or the surety on the

recognizance shall be given ten days' notice by certified mail at his last-

known address to appear and show cause why a judgment of default should

not be entered.

4. Allotted Time between Forfeiture Declaration and Payment Due Date.

• (See above).

5. Forfeiture Defenses.

A. WEST VIRGINIA CODE 1966 CHAPTER 62. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE. ARTICLE

1C. BAIL. § 62-1C-12 Same -- Exoneration; return of deposit.

• When the condition of the bond has been satisfied or the forfeiture thereof

has been set aside or remitted, the court or justice [magistrate] shall

exonerate the surety and release any bail and, if the bail be in a form other

than a recognizance, the deposit shall be returned to the person who made

the same. The surety may be exonerated by a deposit of cash in the amount

of the bail or by a timely surrender of the defendant into custody.

B. WEST VIRGINIA CODE COURT RULES RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

GENERAL PROVISIONS. RULE 46. Release from custody.

• (4)(f) Exoneration. -- When the condition of the bond has been satisfied or

the forfeiture thereof has been set aside or remitted, the court shall

exonerate the obligors and release any bail, and if the bail be in a form other

than a recognizance, the deposit shall be returned to the person who made

the same. A surety may be exonerated by a deposit of cash in the amount of

the bond or by a timely surrender of the defendant into custody.

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6. Remission.

A. WEST VIRGINIA CODE COURT RULES RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

GENERAL PROVISIONS. RULE 46. Release from custody.

• (2) Setting aside. -- The court may direct that a forfeiture be set aside, upon

such conditions as the court may impose, if it appears that justice does not

require the enforcement of the forfeiture.

• (4) Remission. -- After entry of such judgment, the court may remit it in

whole or in part under the conditions applying to the setting aside of

forfeiture in paragraph (2) of this subdivision.

7. Bail Agent’s Arrest Authority.

A. WEST VIRGINIA CODE 1966 CHAPTER 51. COURTS AND THEIR OFFICERS.

ARTICLE 10A. BAIL BOND ENFORCERS. § 51-10A-1 Definitions.

• (b) "Bail bond enforcer" means a person who on behalf of a bail bondsman

enters this state or is present in this state for the purposes of:

• See 2. above.

(2) assisting in the apprehension and surrender of the defendant to a

court.

8. Other Noteworthy Provisions.

A. WEST VIRGINIA CODE 1966 CHAPTER 51. COURTS AND THEIR OFFICERS.

ARTICLE 10. PROFESSIONAL BONDSMEN IN CRIMINAL CASES. § 51-10-8

Qualifications of bondsmen; rules to be prescribed by courts; lists of agents to

be furnished; renewal of authority to act; false swearing.

• Courts of record regularly exercising criminal jurisdiction in counties of more

than two hundred thousand population shall, and in counties of two hundred

thousand population or less such courts may, provide, under reasonable rules

and regulations, the qualifications of persons and corporations applying for

authority to engage in the bonding business in criminal cases in the State of

West Virginia, and the terms and conditions upon which such business shall

be carried on, and no person or corporation shall, either as principal, or as

agent, clerk, or representative of another, engage in the bonding business in

any court regularly exercising criminal jurisdiction until he shall by order of

such court of record be authorized to do so.

• Such courts of record, in making such rules and regulations, and in granting

authority to persons to engage in the bonding business, 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 business of becoming surety upon bonds for

compensation in criminal cases, who has ever been convicted of any offense

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involving moral turpitude, or who is not known to be a person of good moral

character.

• It shall be the duty of each of said courts of record to require every person

qualifying to engage in the bonding business as principal to file with said court

a list showing the name, age, and residence of each person employed by said

bondsman as agent, clerk, or representative in the bonding business, and

require an affidavit from each of said persons stating that said person shall

abide by the terms and provisions of this article.

• Each of said courts of record shall require the authority of each of said

persons to be renewed from time to time at such periods as the said courts

may by rule provide, and before said authority shall be renewed the said

courts shall require from each of said persons an affidavit that since his

previous qualifications to engage in the bonding business he has abided by

the provisions of this article, and any person swearing falsely in any of said

affidavits shall be guilty of false swearing.

B. WEST VIRGINIA CODE 1966 CHAPTER 56. PLEADING AND PRACTICE.

ARTICLE 3. WRITS, PROCESS AND ORDER OF PUBLICATION. § 56-3-34

Actions by or against nonresident bail bond enforcement agents or bail

bondsmen; appointment of secretary of state as agents; service of process.

• (See statute in full for lengthy provisions on this subject)

C. WEST VIRGINIA CODE 1966 CHAPTER 62. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE. ARTICLE

1C. BAIL.§ 62-1C-10 Same -- Bail in excess of jurisdictional limit of justice

[magistrate] or of particular court.

• Where the forfeiture has been declared by a justice [magistrate] or by a court

of limited jurisdiction of bail in excess of the jurisdictional limit of justice

[magistrate] or of the particular court, such forfeiture shall be certified to a

court of the county having sufficient jurisdiction, which court shall thereupon

proceed as if the forfeiture were originally declared in such court.

9. Noteworthy State Appellate Decisions.

A. State v. Hedrick

204 W.Va. 547, 514 S.E.2d 397

W.Va.

Feb 22, 1999

• After bail bonds totaling $455,000 were forfeited due to criminal defendant's

failure to appear at hearing, and after defendant surrendered himself, surety

moved to exonerate its obligation on forfeited bonds. The Circuit Court,

Pendleton County, Donald H. Cookman, J., entered judgment remitting only

$355,000 of that amount. Surety appealed. The Supreme Court of Appeals,

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Davis, J., held that failure to remit full amount of forfeited bonds was not

abuse of discretion. Affirmed.

B. State v. Belcher

168 W.Va. 515, 285 S.E.2d 147

W.Va.

Dec 15, 1981

Bondsman appealed from a judgment of the Circuit Court, Wyoming County,

A. R. Kingdon, J., holding him liable as surety on an appearance bond for the

nonappearance of a criminal defendant. The Supreme Court of Appeals held

that: (1) fact that no judgment was entered against defendant in the term in

which he was indicted did not relieve bondsman of his liability on the bond

following failure of defendant to appear for trial, and (2) as a general rule,

upon default of the principal in a recognizance conditioned upon his

appearance before a court, the surety will be excused from liability on such

recognizance only where the default of the principal is caused by the public

enemy, the obligee, the law or an act of God. Affirmed.

C. State v. Arrington

147 W.Va. 753, 131 S.E.2d 382

W.Va.

Jun 11, 1963

• Action by State of West Cirginia against principal and surety on recognizance

on ground of principal's failure to appear before West Virginia court on June

6, 1960, in accordance with recognizance. The Circuit Court, Marion County,

J. Harper Meredith, J., entered judgment for state. On appeal, the Supreme

Court of Appeals, Calhoun, J., held that principal's appearance before West

Virginia court on June 6, 1960, in accordance with recognizance was

prevented by State of West Virginia, and, therefore, circuit court abused its

discretion in not remitting penalty of recognizance, where principal, who had

been arrested in Ohio and returned to New Jersey by Federal Bureau of

Investigation for crime allegedly committed on May 31, 1956, was denied

bond by New Jersey authorities after assistant prosecuting attorney in West

Virginia had sent detainer to New Jersey authorities on May 13, 1960.

Judgment reversed, and case remanded with instructions.

10. Bounty Hunter Provisions.

• See 2. above, and WVC 51-10A, 56-3-34, and WV H4481 (Enacted April 4,

2000).

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