What You Should Know About Bounty Hunters

What You Should Know About Bounty Hunters

We’ve all witnessed the classic movies and popularized TV shows dedicated to the rough and tumble, chip-on-the-shoulder bounty hunters dragging fugitives across state lines to successfully claim a well-earned percentage on a large-sum bail bond. While these depictions and dramatizations often come with an over-zealous Hollywood stamp on them, the reality is not too far off. Most would be surprised to know that in many regards, bounty hunters possess higher authority compared with local police when making arrests- surpassing most Five-O legal limitations. What exactly do bounty hunters do, and how much authority do they have? Knowing more about this often unsavory process may lend insight as to why skipping town, missing hearings and essentially becoming a fugitive is a very bad decision.


Know the Facts Before You Dip

A person who consciously decides to skip out on their court hearings, leave town, or cross State lines without legal permission will effectively nullify their bond agreement terms, and consequently put themselves in a high-risk position. Not only are there serious financial and legal consequences, but skipping town or just simply not showing up to mandatory court hearings will open grounds for the hire of a bounty hunter, by your bail bonds agency.

When Is A Bounty Hunter Called Upon?

Bounty Hunters are people who work with a bonds agency to return “property” and the agency’s financial investment. A bail bonds company is much like an insurance agency, they undertake the risk of covering a client’s financial burden when something goes wrong. In the case of bail bonds, this means that they are held financially liable for their client when said client doesn’t make their mandatory court appearances. These are ground for which a bounty hunter is called and can begin the retrieval process.

Read The Fine Print

When you sign a bail agreement with your bond agency, it is imperative that you carefully read the fine print, understand all of the disclosures and know what rights you are relinquishing by making this bail agreement. So, what are some key components to a legal bond agreement worth noting?

First, on a very basic level, when a defendant signs the bail bond contract, they waive their constitutional rights and agree to potential future arrest by a bail bond agent. Waving extradition, the representative consents to bondsmen moving them across state lines. Additionally, the bond agreement typically includes personal payment for a recovery agent (bounty hunter) that the bail bonds company will have to hire to get the defendant back. So, that illustrates the irony in which the defendant is essentially pre-consenting to pay for their own extradition by signing the bond contract.

What Are Hunters Legally Allowed to Do?

Bounty Hunters are an integral facet of the bail bonds process, legal in almost all U.S. states. These recovery agents possess certain legal rights and authorities that supersede many jurisdictions given to typical police officers. While these laws can vary per state, they tend to be relatively similar across most U.S. territories. Most bounty hunters have greater authority to make an arrest than local police. They are not required to present or obtain a permit prior to arresting a fugitive, nor are they required to read them their Miranda Rights before making the arrest. They are permitted to enter private property unannounced and they can use force when necessary. In most cases, the defendant is basically powerless in their extradition process. Despite the wealth of power these bounty hunters hold, there are still some limitations and requirements they must legally abide by. Hunters are required to have a copy of the “bail piece” which is a written indication that the defendant is in fact, a fugitive. In some states, a certified copy of the bond is to be obtained and held by the bounty hunter in order to make an arrest. In addition, they are not legally granted permission to enter into the homes of family members or friends of the fugitive without knowing for absolute certain that the wanted individual is in fact residing in the said residence. Doing so would be a breach of federal law, and would result in legal repercussions facing the bounty hunter.

These are the basic principals of Bounty Hunting; the who, what, why, and how of recovery agents. Before signing your next bail bond contract, make sure you know what you are getting into, as one missed hearing could cost you a serious fine, legal trouble for years to come, and the potential to come face to face with a bounty hunter.