A bounty hunter or “bail enforcement agent”, in simple terms, is a skilled professional who is hired by a bail bondsman to find and capture a fugitive who has “skipped bail” in exchange for a monetary reward. Bounty hunters today, in most states, are licensed and/or registered professionals who play an important role in the bail bond business
Bounty hunters have varying levels of authority in their duties with regard to their targets depending on which states they operate in. Barring restrictions applicable state by state, a bounty hunter may enter the fugitive’s private property without a warrant in order to execute a re-arrest. However, a bounty hunter cannot enter the property of anyone other than the fugitive without a warrant or the owner’s permission. The ability to carry a gun varies from state to state as well. Typically excessive force may not be used. And if a wrongful arrest has been made legal actions can be taken by the wrongfully arrested.
The bounty hunter’s reward, which is considered the “bounty,” is typically a percentage of the bail. If a fugitive’s bail is $10,000, a bail bondsman may offer the bounty hunter between 10 and 20 percent of the bail amount, or $1,000 to $2,000, if the fugitive is successfully captured and brought to justice.
In the Wild West, when there were outlaws like Jesse James roaming the land, local sheriffs didn’t have the resources to track them down alone. So they put up “Wanted” posters offering huge rewards for their capture. Bounty hunters answered the call, tracking the bad guys relentlessly for a piece of the reward money. They did anything it took to bring in the outlaws, “dead or alive.”
Bounty hunters today are, more often than not highly skilled professionals who are trained, and educated in their craft. They are called upon by bail bondsmen to return fugitives who have failed to adhere to the conditions of their bail. Bounty hunters spend much of their time investigating, researching, interviewing, and staking out locations so as to obtain the whereabouts of fugitives.
This bounty hunter profession was made famous by reality shows, like “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and its colorful cast of characters. Of course, the actual bounty hunting industry is usually less flashy.
Many bounty hunters pursue degree programs in criminal justice and similar programs so as to achieve a solid understanding and appreciation of everything from policy analysis and corrections to policing and criminology.
Although, it is not generally required for state licensing. Training and education for bounty hunters often varies on state-specific requirements for licensing or registration. It is not uncommon for a bounty hunter to be a private investigators or retired/former police officers, and have training in such areas as martial arts, self-defense, firearms, and weapons.
This is a general article for example purposes. As always, please contact us at 979-821-2663 regarding your specific case.