There are those people who are quick to voice their opinion that the wealthy, the famous and the privileged receive obvious preferential treatment, including being processed more efficiently through the system, when someone within their social circle is arrested. A mug shot and fingerprints are taken, a bond amount is settled on and once a call is made, off they go, out the door and on with their life. After all, there is no need for a call to be placed to a bail bonds agent when a friend, family member or manager can simply swipe a credit card or write a check for the full bail amount. But with fame comes the mug shot splashed across the newspaper, Internet and magazine covers, which is an experience the average person will never be able to comprehend, nor understand the emotional fallout that comes with that level of embarrassment.
Many individuals who are a part of the judicial system – defense attorneys, prosecutors, and even bail bonds agents who are sometimes discreetly called in to post a bond – have been quick to dispute the notion of special treatment being shown to the wealthy. These professionals have insinuated that there are instances where a harsher sentence or a stiffer fine has been imposed upon their client because this is an opportunity for the court to make an example of the defendant and stress the seriousness with which it views the crime that’s been committed by a person who lives in the public eye (a.k.a. a role model).
Here is a list of recent celebrity bail amounts and the crime they are accused of committing:
Lindsay Lohan – actress/singer – DUI / theft – $300,000 / $75,000
O.J. Simpson – football player/actor – robbery – $250,000
Randy Quaid – actor – fraud and burglary – $100,000
Ryan O’Neal – actor – assault – $50,000
Sean Avery -NY Rangers NHL – pushed a police officer – $20,000
Adrian Pasdar – actor – DUI / driving 94mph – $15,000
Jaime Pressly – actress – DUI – $15,000
Then there are those famous individuals who are held without bail until their trial.
Wesley Snipes – actor – failure to pay taxes – No Bail
Leif Garrett – singer- herion possession – No Bail
Some celebrities have had to rely on a bail bonds agent to post their bond because of financial issues; they may be famous but they are no longer wealthy. So the argument may rage on regarding whether or not the wealthy, the famous, the celebrity is treated better or worse when an arrest occurs, but one thing is certain: the average person may wait a little longer for a bail bonds agent to set them free, but unlike those who live their life in the public eye, they will not be forced to share their arrest (and mug shot) with the rest of the world.
What is a bounty hunter?
A bounty hunter is a person that works with a bail bondsman to apprehend a subject that has failed to appear to a court date after having posted bail for a pending trial. When an individual posts bail they are not paying their way out of a conviction. Instead they are paying for their release from holding pending their trial. If the defendant is found to be guilty by the court they must still serve the time mandated by the judge from the trial. They are however awarded the privilege of freedom during the trial.
Because of the flight risk involved an individual must be responsible for the defendant’s actions when they post bail for a pending trial. The bondsman who signed the bond for the defendant’s release is the one who is ultimately responsible to ensure the individual shows up to their court appearances on the designated dates. In the event that an individual who is out on bail does not appear in court they are issued a failure to appear (FTA) warrant at which time they are considered a fugitive.
When this occurs the bondsman responsible for the fugitive contracts a bounty hunter or in many cases acts as the bounty hunter themselves to apprehend the fugitive. A bounty hunter’s proper business title is Fugitive Recovery Agent and they are required to hold the proper certifications for this occupation in order to operate in their local or federal jurisdiction. In many cases a bondsman will act as their own bounty hunter but there are some instances as well where these positions are held by different individuals in a company.