With the rising need of convicted individuals seeking help to post bail, a lot of bail bondsman entities are established to fill their needs.
Through bail bonds, an individual’s bail is settled for them in exchange for a collateral of higher value which will be returned at the conclusion of their trial. The collateral serves as a form security for the bail bondsman that the defendant will show up in court. If the defendant disappears, however, the bail bondsman has the option to hire another individual to find and capture the fugitive.
These skilled professionals are called ‘bounty hunters’ and their job is not exactly what we imagine as in the movies. They are hired by bail bondsman entities to track down the whereabouts of missing defendants.
Since 1873, they have been tasked as agents to bail bondsmen. In the past, they were given permission to find fugitives across all states and break into their houses without a warrant. Recent laws, however, have toned down their rights and established more formal regulations for bounty hunting.
Learn more about bounty hunters and bounty hunting.
At present, they serve an important role in the judicial system when it comes to cases that permit bail. Bounty hunters nowadays are educated, trained, and highly skilled professionals tasked to obtain fugitives that violated the conditions of their bail.
To determine their target’s whereabouts, they perform like detectives through interviewing relatives, researching, and staking out locations where they were last seen. They search for any possible clue that the defendant has left prior to their disappearance and use them to track them down. They are a vital aspect to the business of bail bonds since they ensure the settlement of the bond amount even if the defendant breaches the bail’s rules.
Due to the demands this job require, one must be cunning, resourceful, and intelligent to be a successful bounty hunter. They must also be experienced with piecing out together clues to form a bigger picture. It is because of this that private investigators and former policemen make good bounty hunters due to their constant exposure to the field.
Their knowledge in criminal justice and law enforcement also comes in handy during their investigation to find the fugitive. They also have undergone training self-defense and handling firearms which they can use in case they find themselves in dangerous situations should the defendant resort to violent means to evade capture.
The requirements to obtain a license for bounty hunting may vary among states. Despite not being required, it is preferred for those seeking this profession to pursue degree programs in criminal justice to have a good foundation of procedures for performing investigations. Searches often span great distances since some defendants are dangerous and powerful individuals that can easily go across states to avoid getting caught.
Bounty hunters are paid generously for their services since bail bondsmen typically will not stand the forfeiture of the bond to the state, given that they have made it a business to post bail bonds. The court allots a certain amount of time for the bail bondsman to find the defendant, which he will then assign to the bounty hunter.
As payment for successfully obtaining the fugitive and bringing him to justice, they are paid from a percentage of the total bail amount, ranging around 10%-20%.