Did you know that Alabama was the state where Mardi Gras was first introduced to the West? Workers here also built the rocket that first landed people on the moon. Alabama is the largest supplier of steel pipe and cast-iron products in the nation, as well as the home of notable people like Boxer Joe Louis and pro ball player Willie Mays. People in Alabama know what it is to take the lead and to work hard. That’s why they don’t like people such as criminals who try to take the easy way out. Professional bounty hunters who track down criminals on the run from the law in Alabama are called professional bondsmen. If you’re a resident of Alabama and would like to become a bounty hunter, here’s everything you need to know.
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Becoming a Bounty Hunter in Alabama
Meeting the requirements to become a professional bondsman in Alabama requires the following eligibility minimums:
Basic State Requirements
- Education: Education in the laws of Alabama and the responsibilities and requirements of professional bondsmen in the state is required in order to become licensed as a bounty hunter. Courses to become trained, educated and certified can be found online. Such pre-licensing courses involve 20 hours of education covering bond insurance, five hours of which deal strictly with Alabama law. The Alabama government has licensed three providers for this education.
- Age: Professional bondsmen in Alabama must be at least 18 years old.
- Degree: Though it is not strictly required, many bounty hunters in Alabama choose to obtain a degree in criminal justice, which can provide valuable knowledge of the laws of the land. In addition, degrees like sociology and psychology provide insights into the workings of the human mind, which can help you track the criminals you seek to bring to justice.
- Experience: While no prior law enforcement experience is strictly necessary to become a bounty hunter in Alabama, the more experience you have, the more likely you’ll be able to build a solid client list.
- Citizenship: All bounty hunters in Alabama are required to hold United States citizenship.
- Alabama Resident: To become a bounty hunter in Alabama, you must be a current resident of the state.
- Background Screening: Licensed professional bondsmen in the state must have no felony convictions or convictions of any kind involving moral issues. This involves a fingerprint check conducted by third-party state contractor 3M Cogent.
- Good Conduct: No licensed bounty hunter can have violated the Rules of Criminal Procedures in Alabama for two years prior to their application
- No Forfeitures: You must have no surety-based forfeitures currently outstanding
- Surety bonds: You must have a corporate surety bond of at least $25,000 approved by probate judges in each county in which you intend to operate independently.
Bounty Hunter Application Process in Alabama
- The Surety Bail Bond Exam: Every professional bondsman must pass a Bail Bond and Insurance Provider Exam. This exam must be passed within 12 months of the date on your certificate of completion of the pre-licensing course. The exam is administered by the University of Alabama, but there are a number of locations throughout the state where it can be taken. You must register for the exam at least one week before the testing date. You will be given 60 minutes to answer 50 questions, and must correctly answer at least 35. All questions are taken from information you will gain in your pre-licensing course, and in the recommended state textbook.
- Licensure: After passing the bail bond exam, you will submit your license application. This is done through the National Insurance Producer Registry, and should be done within 30 days of fingerprinting. Otherwise, you may have to undergo a second background check. The licensing fee for this application is $60.
Degrees related to Bounty Hunters
Many bounty hunters choose to become licensed private investigators, a course of education which covers almost everything you need to know to become a bounty hunter. In addition, degrees in criminal justice, psychology and sociology can provide important additional knowledge that will make you a better professional bondsman in Alabama.
Major Cities in Alabama
Alabama is a geographically diverse state, with landscapes ranging from beaches to mountains and forests, and bounty hunters can be found tracking down fugitives all across the state. The largest, most principal cities where bounty hunters can be found throughout the state include state capital Montgomery, the state’s largest city of Birmingham, and the cities of Mobile, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa.
Specific Duties of Bounty Hunters in Alabama
Bounty hunters are hired by bail bonds companies to track down fugitives in exchange for a fee. These fugitives are generally those who have been released from incarceration on bond, but have failed to abide by the terms of their release. In exchange for returning these fugitives to custody, they are paid a fee negotiated by the bail company. They are required to work within the bounds of the law, but serve as independent legal agents with arrest powers.
Private investigators are closely related to bounty hunters, and the two professions share many of the same skills. Likewise, bail bondsmen work closely with bounty hunters and are a related career. Finally, process servers who serve notice regarding court actions share skills with professional bondsmen.
Employment Numbers in Alabama
Job outlook and salary information for bounty hunters aren’t kept, but judging by similar careers, the salary outlook is strong, with jobs expected to increase by around 13% over the next ten years.
Salary Ranges in Alabama
Bounty hunters in Alabama, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, earn an average salary of between $52,840 and $77,110 per year.