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Chapter 51     Entire Code
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Chapter 51  |  Article 51 - 10
WVC 51- CHAPTER 51. COURTS AND THEIR OFFICERS.
WVC -10- ARTICLE 10. PROFESSIONAL BONDSMEN IN CRIMINAL CASES.

WVC 51-10-1 §51-10-1. Definitions.
The words "bonding business" as used in this article mean the business of becoming surety for compensation upon bonds in criminal cases in the state of West Virginia, and the word "bondsman" means any person or corporation engaged either as principal or as agent, clerk, or representative of another in such business.

WVC 51-10-2 §51-10-2. Business impressed with public interest.
The business of becoming surety for compensation upon bonds in criminal cases in the state of West Virginia is impressed with a public interest.

WVC 51-10-3 §51-10-3. Procuring business through official or attorney for consideration prohibited.
It shall be unlawful for any person engaged, either as principal or as the clerk, agent, or representative of a corporation, or another person in the business of becoming surety upon bonds for compensation in the state of West Virginia, either directly or indirectly, to give, donate, lend, contribute, or to promise to give, donate, loan, or contribute any money, property, entertainment, or other thing of value whatsoever to any attorney at law, police officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, jailer, probation officer, clerk, or other attache of a criminal court, or public official of any character, for procuring or assisting in procuring any person to employ said bondsman to execute as surety any bond for compensation in any criminal case in the state of West Virginia; and it shall be unlawful for any attorney at law, police officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, jailer, probation officer, clerk, bailiff, or other attache of a criminal court, or public official of any character, to accept or receive from any such person engaged in the bonding business any money, property, entertainment, or other thing of value whatsoever for procuring or assisting in procuring any person to employ any bondsman to execute as surety any bond for compensation in any criminal case in the state of West Virginia.

WVC 51-10-4 §51-10-4. Attorneys procuring employment through official or bondsman for consideration prohibited.
It shall be unlawful for any attorney at law, either directly or indirectly, to give, loan, donate, contribute, or to promise to give, loan, donate, or contribute any money, property, entertainment, or other thing of value whatsoever to, or to split or divide any fee or commission with, any bondsman, police officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, probation officer, assistant probation officer, bailiff, clerk or other attache of any criminal court for causing or procuring or assisting in causing or procuring any person to employ such attorney to represent him in any criminal case in the state of West Virginia.

WVC 51-10-5 §51-10-5. Receiving other than regular fee for bonding prohibited; bondsman prohibited from endeavoring to secure dismissal or settlement.
It shall be lawful to charge for executing any bond in a criminal case in the state of West Virginia, and it shall be unlawful for any person or corporation engaged in the bonding business, either as principal, or clerk, agent or representative of another, either directly or indirectly, to charge, accept, or receive any sum of money, or other thing of value, other than the bonding fee from any person for whom he has executed bond, for any other service whatever performed in connection with any indictment or charge upon which said person is bailed or held in the state of West Virginia, or in any counties where the court has regulated bonding fees pursuant to section eight of this article, it shall be unlawful for any person or corporation engaged in the bonding business, either as principal, clerk, agent, or representative of another, either directly or indirectly, to charge, accept, or receive any sum of money or other thing of value other than the duly authorized maximum bonding fee, from any person for whom he has executed bond, for any other service whatever performed in connection with any indictment or charge upon which said person is bailed or held in the state of West Virginia. It also shall be unlawful for any person or corporation engaged either as principal or as agent, clerk, or representative of another in the bonding business, to settle, or attempt to settle, or to procure or attempt to procure the dismissal of any indictment, information, or charge against any person in custody or held upon bond in the state of West Virginia, with any court, or with the prosecuting attorney, or with any police officer in any court in the state of West Virginia.

WVC 51 - 10 - 5 A §51-10-5a. Bonding fee and collateral security required by bail bondsmen.

     (a) The bonding fee required by a bail bondsman shall be at least ten percent of the amount of the bond. The bonding fee received by the bondsman shall not, in the aggregate, exceed the amount of the bond.

     (b) The bonding fee may be paid as follows:

     (1) In full at the time of the issuance of the bond; or

     (2) At least three percent paid at the issuance of the bond with the remaining percentage to be paid over a period not to exceed twelve months.

     (c) When collateral or security is received by a bail bondsman, a receipt shall be furnished. Copies of all receipts issued shall be kept by the bail bondsman for a minimum of five years. All receipts issued shall:

     (1) Be prenumbered and used and filed in consecutive numerical order;

     (2) Show the name and address of the bail bondsman;

     (3) Show the name and address of the person providing the collateral;

     (4) Show the amount and nature of the collateral and the date received;

     (5) Show the name of the person accepting collateral; and

     (6) Show the total amount of the bond for which the collateral is being accepted and the name of the defendant.

     (d) When a bond is to be forfeited, the court is to give notification to the bail bondsman within twenty-four hours of the failure to appear. WVC 51-10-6 §51-10-6. Posting names of authorized bondsmen; list to be furnished prisoners; prisoner may communicate with bondsman; record to be kept by police.
A typewritten or printed list alphabetically arranged of all persons engaged under the authority of any courts of record pursuant to section eight of this article, in the business of becoming surety on the bonds for compensation shall be posted in a conspicuous place in each police precinct, jail, prisoner's dock, house of detention, municipal court, and justice of the peace court within the county, and one or more copies thereof kept on hand; and when any person who is detained in custody in any such place of detention shall request any person in charge thereof to furnish him the name of a bondsman, or to put him in communication with a bondsman, said list shall be furnished to the person so requesting, and it shall be the duty of the person in charge of said place of detention within a reasonable time to put the person so detained in communication with the bondsman so selected, and the person in charge of said place of detention shall contemporaneously with said transaction make in the blotter or book of record kept in any such place of detention, a record showing the name of the person requesting the bondsman, the offense with which the said person is charged, the time at which the request was made, the bondsman requested, and the person by whom the said bondsman was called, and preserve the same as a permanent record in the book or blotter in which entered.

WVC 51-10-7 §51-10-7. Bondsman prohibited from entering place of detention unless requested by prisoner; record of visit to be kept.
It shall be unlawful for any bondsman, agent, clerk, or representative of any bondsman to enter a police precinct, jail, prisoner's dock, house of detention, justice of the peace court, or other place where persons in the custody of the law are detained in the state of West Virginia, for the purpose of obtaining employment as a bondsman, without having been previously called by a person so detained, or by some relative or other authorized person acting for or on behalf of the person so detained, and whenever any person engaged in the bonding business as principal, or as clerk, or representative of another, shall enter a police precinct, jail, prisoner's dock, house of detention, justice of the peace court, or other place where persons in the custody of the law are detained in the state of West Virginia, he shall forthwith give to the person in charge thereof his mission there, the name of the person calling him, and requesting him to come to such place, and the same shall be recorded by the person in charge of the said place of detention and preserved as a public record, and the failure to give such information, or the failure of the person in charge of said place of detention to make and preserve such a record, shall constitute a violation of this article.

WVC 51 - 10 - 8 §51-10-8. Qualifications of bondsmen; rules to be prescribed by Supreme Court of Appeals; lists of agents to be furnished; renewal of authority to act; false swearing.
(a) The Supreme Court of Appeals shall, under reasonable rules, specify 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 the business may be carried on. After the first day of September, two thousand four, no person or corporation may, either as principal, or as agent, clerk, or representative of another, engage in the bonding business in any court regularly exercising criminal jurisdiction until qualified pursuant to the rules. The Supreme Court of Appeals, in making the rules, 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 may 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 involving moral turpitude, or who is not known to be a person of good moral character. The court shall require every person qualifying to engage in the bonding business as principal to file with the court a list showing the name, age, and residence of each person employed by the bondsman as agent, clerk, or representative in the bonding business, and require an affidavit from each of the persons stating that the person will abide by the terms and provisions of this article. The court shall require the authority of each of the persons to be renewed from time to time at periods the court may by rule provide. Before the authority may be renewed the court shall require from each of the persons an affidavit that since his or her previous qualifications to engage in the bonding business he or she has abided by the provisions of this article, and any person swearing falsely in any of the affidavits is guilty of false swearing.

(b) Persons authorized to engage in the bonding business in criminal cases in the state of West Virginia on the effective date of the amendments made to this section during the regular session of the Legislature in two thousand four may continue to engage in the business until the first day of September, two thousand four.

WVC 51-10-9 §51-10-9. Penalties.
Any person violating any provisions of this article other than in the commission of false swearing shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months in the county jail, or both, where no other penalty is provided by this article; and if the person so convicted be a police officer or other public official, he shall upon recommendation of the judge of the criminal court of record of the county to which this article is applicable also be forthwith removed from office; if a bondsman, or the agent, clerk, or representative of a bondsman, he shall be disqualified from thereafter engaging in any manner in the bonding business for such a period of time as the judge of the criminal court of record of the county to which this article is applicable shall order; and, if an attorney at law, shall be subject to suspension or disbarment as attorney at law.

WVC 51-10-10 §51-10-10. Enforcement of article.
It shall be the duty of the judges of the criminal courts of record, the municipal courts, the justices of the peace of the county to which this article is applicable, to see that this article is enforced, and upon the impaneling of each grand jury in the state of West Virginia it shall be the duty of the judge impaneling said jury to give it in charge to the jury to investigate the manner in which this article is enforced and all violations thereof.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2014 1st Special Session
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