By Megan Sando
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Karri McBride has a full house — four kids and a business she runs out of her own home.
She didn’t let it stop her when she was pregnant with her oldest child as a teen attending high school in Perkins.
The 32-year-old mom is the owner of a successful bonding business in Stillwater.
Angel Bail Bonds has been in business since she wrote her first bond in January 2009.
Statistically, teen mothers are less likely to complete high school.
“Now I don’t think about the fact that I was a teen mom,” she said.
McBride laughs when she looks back, choosing to see the positive side of things in her life.
In fact, she said there are more positive things about being a bondsman than one might think.
While at Oklahoma State University getting her sociology degree with an emphasis in juvenile corrections, a friend told her to give it a try.
“I decided since I have children, this would be a good way to be self-employed and work for myself,” she said.
However, the clients keep coming, and sometimes she is swamped.
“The more calls you get and the more bonds you write, the more money you make,” she said. “The less forfeitures, the less bounty fees you have to pay, the more money you make.”
McBride makes a profit off the percentage of any given bond set by a judge.
A $5,000 bond would rake in a $500 nonrefundable profit from the person accused of a crime.
The more severe the crime, the more profit is at stake.
McBride said the standard is 10 percent of a bond set by a judge, but can be higher or lower depending on the bondsman. The judge decides the bond depending on the severity of the crime, but not always.
When asked what happens to the rest of the $5,000, McBride said there is nothing — there is no money, technically.
“I’ve seen public intoxication bonds be $10,000,” she said. “Maybe that person can’t stop drinking and is in and out of jail. To me, it’s the judge saying, ‘Look, you’re not going to be let off easy if you keep getting in trouble for the same things.’”
It’s the bondsman’s responsibility to make sure the person returns to court.
A bond of $50,000 for a serious crime makes the bondsman more liable, and more is at stake to lose.
“In the event that they don’t go to court, that’s when things can get ugly,” she said.
When a person misses court, no matter the reason, a warrant is issued for their arrest. If out on bond through a bondsman, the court issues a letter of forfeiture to the bondsman stating they have 90 days to find them, or pay the amount of the bond posted.
“The court says you pay the amount of the bond or produce this person to us,” McBride said.
The bondsman must pay the full amount, whatever the cost.
If people jump bond, the bondsman pays out of pocket, or hires a bounty hunter to find them.
McBride said recent restrictions have made it more difficult for people to become bounty hunters.
Before, anyone could be a practicing bounty hunter. This makes it more difficult for her business to find people if they go missing.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department regulates bondsmen through state law.
If a bond isn’t paid to the court when the accused goes missing, she could lose her license.
Since 2009, McBride has had to pay forfeitures for only two people.
“Most people pay and do what they’re supposed to do,” she said.
McBride said she had goals and dreams before having a child, and it didn’t change her drive. She credits her friends and family for having an impact on her bright future.
“I think that statistic applies maybe more to the people who never really saw a lot of dreams and goals for themselves before they had babies,” she said.