2020 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 59A - Insurance Code
Article 51 - Bail Bondsmen Licensing
Section 59A-51-13 - Practices.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 59A-51-13 (2020)

A. A bail bondsman or solicitor shall not:

(1) suggest or advise the employment of or name for employment any particular attorney to represent the bail bondsman's or solicitor's principal;

(2) pay a fee or rebate or give or promise anything of value to a jailer, policeman, peace officer, committing magistrate or any other person who has power to arrest or to hold in custody or to any public official or public employee in order to secure a settlement, compromise, remission or reduction of the amount of any bail bond or estreatment thereof or to secure delay or other advantage;

(3) pay a fee or rebate or give anything of value to an attorney in bail bond matters, except in defense of any action on a bond;

(4) pay a fee or rebate or offer a reduction in rates, charges or premiums or give or promise anything of value to the principal or anyone on behalf of the principal;

(5) participate in the capacity of an attorney at a trial or hearing of one on whose bond the bail bondsman or solicitor is surety;

(6) except for the premium received for the bond, fail to return any collateral security within a reasonable time after the termination of liability on the bond; or

(7) charge or accept anything of value except the premium on the bond and any extraterritorial recovery expenses, but the bondsman may accept collateral security or other indemnity if:

(a) such collateral security or other indemnity is reasonable in relation to the amount of the bond;

(b) no collateral or security in tangible property is taken by pledge or debt instrument that allows retention, sale or other disposition of such property upon default of premium payment;

(c) no collateral or security interest in real property is taken by deed or any other instrument unless the bail bondsman's interest in the property is limited to one hundred percent of the amount of the bond;

(d) the collateral or security taken by the bondsman is not pledged directly to any court as security for an appearance bond; and

(e) the person from whom the collateral or security is taken is given a receipt describing the condition of the collateral or security at the time it is taken into the custody of the bondsman.

B. When a bail bondsman accepts cash as collateral, the bondsman shall deposit the cash in the bondsman's trust account and give a written receipt for same, and this receipt shall give in detail a full account of the collateral received.

C. Law enforcement, adjudication and prosecution officials and their employees, attorneys-at-law, officials authorized to admit to bail and state and county officers shall not directly or indirectly receive any benefits from the execution of any bail bond.

D. A bail bondsman shall not sign nor countersign in blank any bond, nor shall the bondsman give a power of attorney to or otherwise authorize anyone to countersign the bondsman's name to bonds unless the person so authorized is a licensed bondsman directly employed by the bondsman giving such power of attorney.

E. No bail bond agency shall advertise as or hold itself out to be a surety insurer.

F. Every bail bondsman shall have a permanent street address, and all bail bond business shall be conducted from that address.

G. Every bail bondsman shall transact all bail bond business, surety or property, in the bondsman's proper individual name or one agency name as stated on the application for license and on the license as issued by the superintendent.

History: Laws 1984, ch. 127, § 940; 1987, ch. 228, § 4; 2005, ch. 259, § 3; 2014, ch. 21, § 6.

ANNOTATIONS

The 2014 amendment, effective May 21, 2014, prohibited a bail bondsman or solicitor from offering a reduction in rates, charges or premiums; and in Subsection A, in Paragraph (4), after "fee or rebate", added "or offer a reduction in rates, charges or premiums".

Temporary provisions. — Laws 2014, ch. 21, § 10 provided the supreme court shall by rule determine the conditions under which a bail bondsman or solicitor may appear in court without the assistance of an attorney and without constituting the practice of law.

The 2005 amendment, effective April 6, 2005, added Subsection A(6) to provide that a bail bondsman or solicitor shall not, except for the premium received for the bond, fail to return any collateral security within a reasonable time after termination of liability on the bond; provided in Subsection A(7) that a bail bondsman or solicitor shall not charge anything except the premium on the bond and any extraterritorial recovery expenses, but may accept security or indemnity; deleted the former provision in Subsection A(7) that a bail bondsman or solicitor could not accept anything from a principal except the premium which could be paid in cash or property and that a bondsman could accept security or indemnity from a principal; added Subsection A(7)(b) through (e) to provide conditions for taking collateral security or other indemnity; and added Subsection G to provide that every bondsman shall conduct business in the bondsman's name or agency name as stated on the bondsman's license.

County officers as bail bondsmen. — The prohibitions against county officers acting as bail bondsmen in 59A-51-4 NMSA 1978 and Subsection C of this section fail to satisfy heightened rational-basis scrutiny; that element of the statutes is invalid under the equal protection clause of the New Mexico Constitution. Alvarez v. Chavez, 1994-NMCA-133, 118 N.M. 732, 886 P.2d 461, overruled on other grounds by Trujillo v. City of Albuquerque, 1998-NMSC-031, 125 N.M. 721, 965 P.2d 305.

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