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When someone is arrested for a crime, a bail bondsman (also known as a bail agent or bail bonding agent) pays the bail so that person can go free until it is time for the trial. The bondsman charges a fee of 10 to 15 percent of the total cash bond assigned by the court. If the person doesn't appear for trial, the bondsman must either find the person or hire someone, known as a bail enforcement agent, fugitive recovery agent, or bounty hunter, to find the person and bring him or her back. Because the work bondsmen do relies on criminal activities, larger cities have the greatest need for bondsmen. Approximately 15,500 bail bondsmen are members of Professional Bail Agents of the United States.
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