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As a bail bondsman, I hear people struggle with the correct term for describing our profession almost daily. It's not hard to understand why so few people know the proper terminology, since many people go through the majority of their lives without every coming into contact with a bail bondsman (or bails bond man, as some say!).
The struggle with bail bondsman (correct term) vs. bails bondsman (incorrect) cuts across all walks of life. Highly educated people are just as likely to make the mistake as people who may admit to not having paid much attention in English class! The reasoning is simple, many people only encounter a bail bondsman (or "bails bondman) when they finally end up needing one.
On top of that, a decent number of people who do have to use a bail bondsman, never have to use one again. It often therefore coincides with a period they would like to understandably forget.
However some people unfortunately have multiple and repeated contacts with law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and therefore bail bondsman. These people tend to develop a special relationship with their bondsman and bail bonding company of choice, as they rely on them to secure their freedom and keep them at home with their families.
I've seen individuals from both groups, even those who've become very close with their bail bondsman, struggle with the "bails bondsman" slip.
The easiest way to remember the correct wording is to look at it in the following way. If you are arrested, you are taken in front of a magistrate who will set a bail amount for you to post. This is called a bail bond. Therefore, people who provide bail bonds are called bail bondsmen.
Notice that there is no such thing as a "bails bond." Another way to look at it is to consider that it is your bail bond service's job to post your bail. The bail bondsman does not "post your bails."
Therefore the correct title for a bail agent is a bail bondsman! Bails bondsman would be an incorrect term.
Hopefully this helps!
- Fred Shanks, IV
Owner, Apex Bail Bonds LLC
Halifax bail bonds office: 100 S Main St., Halifax, VA 24558 or 434-446-1499