No More Bail Bonds On Credit

(Memphis) M & M is the oldest bail bond company in Memphis.

For years it like other bonding companies allowed customers to pay on credit.

Now, those arrested and given Bonds at $25,000 or more must pay the money at once.

“We feel like in West Tennessee with the economy, the unemployment rate that what we’re going to see is our clients who are arrested, are not going to be able to make bond,” said Courtney Garner, M&M Bail Bond Company.

There is also another proposed change.

Those with bonds of more than $75,000 must have a hearing to tell where they’re getting the money.

Defense attorney Sam Rodriguez says that could be a problem for some of his clients.

“People may be looked at as criminals unfairly when in fact they sought the help of their church, they sought the help of their family,” said Rodriguez.

The criminal court judges set the rules for bonding companies.

Judge Lee Coffee says in his court he wondered how one defendant with back to back drug charges over years kept getting out even though judges kept doubling his bonds at a certain rate.

He discovered the bonding company knew him as a regular customer and allowed him to make small payments over time.

Still, that’s not enough to convince some the changes are needed.

Rodriguez said, “The primary reason you have a bond is to assure that person is going to appear in court, more than anything else. And, I haven’t seen any statistics that say when folks are on payment plans folks are less likely to appear in court.”

Nashville and Knoxville area judges have already made similar changes.