(1) The department may, in its discretion, issue a temporary license as a limited surety agent or professional bail bond agent, subject to the following conditions:
(a) The applicant is a natural person at least 18 years of age and holds a high school diploma or its equivalent.
(b) The applicant is a United States citizen or legal alien who possesses work authorization from the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and is a resident of this state. An individual who is a resident of this state shall be deemed to meet the residence requirement of this paragraph, notwithstanding the existence, at the time of application for temporary license, of a license in the individual’s name on the records of another state as a resident licensee of such other state, if the applicant furnishes a letter of clearance satisfactory to the department that the individual’s resident licenses have been canceled or changed to a nonresident basis and that the individual is in good standing.
(c) The applicant is a person of high character and approved integrity and has never been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony, a crime involving moral turpitude, or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of any state, territory, or country, whether or not a judgment or conviction is entered.
(d) Within 4 years prior to the date of application for a temporary license, the applicant has successfully completed a basic certification course in the criminal justice system, consisting of not less than 120 hours of classroom instruction with a passing grade of 80 percent or higher and has successfully completed a correspondence course for bail bond agents approved by the department.
(e) The applicant must be employed full time at the time of licensure, and at all times throughout the existence of the temporary license, by only one licensed and appointed supervising bail bond agent, who supervises the work of the applicant and is responsible for the licensee’s conduct in the bail bond business. The applicant must be appointed by the same insurers as the supervising bail bond agent. The supervising bail bond agent shall certify monthly to the department under oath, on a form prescribed by the department, the names and hours worked each week of all temporary bail bond agents. Filing a false certification is grounds for the immediate suspension of the license and imposition of a $5,000 administrative fine. The department may adopt rules that establish standards for the employment requirements.
(f) The application must be accompanied by an affidavit verifying proposed employment and a report as to the applicant’s integrity and moral character on a form prescribed by the department and executed by the proposed employer.
(g) The applicant must file with the department statements by at least three reputable citizens who are residents of the same counties in which the applicant proposes to engage as a temporary licensee.
(h) The applicant’s employer is responsible for the bail bonding acts of any licensee under this section.
(2) All applicable license fees, as prescribed in s. 624.501, must be paid before issuance of the temporary license.
(3) The temporary license shall be effective for 18 months, subject to earlier termination at the request of the employer or if suspended or revoked by the department.
(4) The applicant shall furnish, with the application for temporary license, a complete set of the applicant’s fingerprints and a recent credential-sized, fullface photograph of the applicant. The applicant’s fingerprints shall be certified by an authorized law enforcement officer. The department shall not issue a temporary license under this section until the department has received a report from the Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation relative to the existence or nonexistence of a criminal history report based on the applicant’s fingerprints.
(5) The department may collect a fee necessary to cover the cost of a character and credit report made by an established and reputable independent reporting service. The fee shall be deposited to the credit of the Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund.
(6) After licensure as a temporary licensee for at least 12 months, such licensee may file an application for and become eligible for a regular bail bond agent’s license based on the licensee’s experience in the bail bond business and education pursuant to paragraph (1)(d) and, if otherwise qualified, take the required bail bond agent’s licensure examination. The applicant and supervising bail bond agent must each file an affidavit under oath, on a form prescribed by the department, verifying the required employment of the temporary agent before issuance of the license.
(7) In no event shall a temporary licensee licensed under this section perform any of the functions for which a bail bond agent’s license is required after expiration of the temporary license without having passed the written examination as for a regular bail bond agent’s license.
(8)(a) A temporary licensee has the same authority as a licensed bail bond agent, including presenting defendants in court; apprehending, arresting, and surrendering defendants to the proper authorities; and keeping defendants under necessary surveillance. However, a temporary licensee must be accompanied by a supervising bail bond agent or an agent from the same agency when apprehending, arresting, or surrendering defendants to authorities.
(b) A temporary licensee may not execute or sign bonds, handle collateral receipts, deliver bonds to appropriate authorities, or operate an agency or branch agency separate from the location of the supervising bail bond agent, managing general agent, or insurer by whom the licensee is employed.
(9) The department shall not issue a temporary bail bond agent’s license to any individual who has held such a temporary license in this state within 2 years after the expiration of such temporary bail bond agent’s license.