5 Reasons Bail Agents Should Get To Know The Local Legal Community
With harmful legislation threatening the industry, rallying support for pre-trial release and a common misunderstanding of their profession, bail agents face a lot of challenges these days. One way to further support for the industry is to get to know the legal community in your area. Judges, criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, paralegals and a host of other professionals can become allies for bail agents, and getting to know the community can have a positive effect when pushing for changes in the industry. AboutBail caught up with bail agents to find out why agents should be getting involved in the local community.
Here's what bail agents and association leaders have to say:
Here are just a few reasons to get to know the local legal community:
- You can educate them on bail bonds and legislation
Not every member in the legal community supports private bail, and in fact, in many areas the majority of lawyers, judges and local law enforcement agents don’t understand the benefits of private bail. “The people that don’t support private bail, whether they are citizens, sheriffs, the court, judges or anyone in the criminal justice system--they don’t understand what we do,” California bondsman Topo Padilla explained, “We need to educate the judges. We need to educate the [District Attorney’s] office. We need to educate the lawyers. Educate them on what a bond is, how it works and why it’s so effective.” In further explanation, Padilla noted that following a recent legislation change, the bail associations in California sat down with members of the legslature that signed the bill. By educating them on what they were actually backing, he explained, many who voted in favor of the bill realized they did not fully support its intentions. The former president of the Golden State Bail Association stressed the value in educating the legal community on bail itself and what legislation will change. "That's something we as an industry need to do on a more professional level,” Padilla concluded.
- You can gain a better understanding of why people are supporting government programs
Battling government programs is difficult, but understanding why people and legislative representatives are supporting those programs gives bail agents an advantage for forming a sophisticated and effective strategy to combat the issue. “States have their own rules and regulations that are gathered best not from [a news source] but from the mouths of legislatures and bondsmen on the ground,” NYPBA (New York Professional Bondsmen Association) President George Zouvelos explained, “When we aggregate this data and we also share it with press releases and things of that nature, we’re able to change the minds of even judges and other decision makers that are crucial [to the criminal justice process].”
- You can gain support when pushing for or fighting legislation changes
Vocal support can go a long way, especially when legislation and regulations are on the line. “Take time to meet with [representatives], meet them at the capitol and let them know that we want to work with them,” bail agent Bobby Brown recommends. Brown further explained that recent legislation threatened to shut down bail agents in Colorado, and the only reason the bill did not pass was due to the aid of a legislative representative and allie. ”We were at the very last committee,” Brown explained, “ and if it passed that night, the very next morning we were literally going to be shutting down--every bail bondsman in the state of Colorado and all of our employees.”
- You can establish relationships with powerful allies
If there’s anything we’ve learned from our interview with Judge McBain, it’s that having an outspoken supporter in the legal community can bring a lot of positive publicity to the bail industry. Many individuals were surprised to find a judge and former prosecutor speaking out in support of private bail, and with any luck it will change a few opinions. Bail agents should always work toward gaining local support and allies for private bail. Keep in mind that community members may be more easily convinced of the positive aspects of bail when they are outlined by legal professionals like judges, attorneys and legal assistants rather than the agents themselves.
- You can supplement your business with recommendations
While reaching out to create a professional relationship and gain support for backing legislation, consider opportunities for business referrals and recommendations. Provide business cards with up to date contact information to local judges and attorneys. “[I work] with the courts, with the judges, the attorneys,” Bobby Brown, a Colorado bail agent explained, “I do more attorney recommended bonds than anybody.”
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