A bounty hunter plays an important role in the criminal justice system. The main objective of a bounty hunter is to apprehend fugitives that fail to appear in court after being released on bail by a bail bondsman. The bondsman hires the services of a bounty hunter in order to avoid surrendering the cash bond to the court. Once those services re requested from a bondsman, a bounty hunter has legal permission to apprehend the fugitive and return them to jail to await their day in court.
Being a bondsman is a tough job. It requires the ability to think quickly and critically, a strong grasp of the legal system and the laws on the books, as well as negotiation skills to ensure a fugitives compliance. On top of that, when every other tactic fails to work, sometimes close combat and weapons skills are called upon to bring fugitives to justice.
Meeting the Requirements
Varying from state to state, there are a few qualification requirements that are almost always required of licensed bounty hunters. they are:
- A valid driver’s license in the state you wish to operate from
- Pre-licensing training and certification
- State residency
- Specific age requirements (age varies by state)
Restrictions regarding who can become a bounty hunter also varies state to state. Some states have rules against people who have other professions from becoming bounty hunters, such as lawyers, law enforcement officers, and judicial officers. Again, it depends on the state since bounty hunters are licensed and regulated by state government agencies rather than federal government agencies. Most states prohibit felons, and those with certain misdemeanor offenses that put an individuals moral fiber into question, from becoming bounty hunters as well.
Getting to Know State Laws
The specific language that regulates what bounty hunters can and can’t do, as well as how they do it, vary as much as state’s requirements. For example, many states require specific attire that must be worn by bounty hunters with the words “bail enforcement agent” spelled out across the front. Other states require that the local sheriff’s office be notified before a bounty hunter plans on entering a residence. In Arizona, state law requires that everyone in the residence consent to the bounty officer entering the residence before he/she actually is allowed to enter.
In every state with laws on the books regarding bounty hunters, there are laws governing a bounty hunter’s openness with law enforcement about making an arrest. Mainly, this is to allow local law enforcement the opportunity to take the fugitive into custody after the bounty hunter apprehends and relinquishes them to the state to be processed back into the jail system, or to be transported to the appropriate location if need be.
Requirements for Maintaining a License
Just like with bail bondsman, bounty hunters have to stay up to date on their education requirements in order to keep their license valid. During any period that the license is valid, the bounty hunter has to comply with state required education and training. When a license expires, a renewal application must be completed and a fee for renewal must be paid before the license is approved again.
Being a bounty hunter can be a fruitful endeavor for those up to the task. Always check and adhere to state and local ordinances as far as the requirements and the regulations governing bounty hunting as a profession. The more information you can obtain locally, the more prepared you will be for a career as a bounty hunter.
John Keefe is an avid blogger and professional bail bondsman in Oklahoma City, OK. John is passionate about sharing information online through his blogs and provides OKC bail bonds services to his local community.