West Virginia is a very small state. Less than two million people live in West Virginia. Thanks to its mountainous terrain, many criminals in West Virginia released on bail believe that they can skip their bond and escape justice. Fortunately, West Virginia is one of the many states that allows bounty hunters, which are known in this state as bail bond enforcers.
Although West Virginia has not outlined licensing procedures for bounty hunters, there are still qualifications you must abide by to work as a bond enforcer.
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Becoming a Bounty Hunter in West Virginia
- Education: You do not need any education to work as a bond enforcer in this state.
- Age: All West Virginia bounty hunters need to be 18 or older.
- Degrees: A degree is not required to work is a bounty hunter. However, enrolling in a criminal justice program is recommended.
- Experience: Experience in the bail enforcement industry is not required.
- Citizenship: You must be a US citizen.
- Background: A criminal background check and fingerprint are required to work as a bounty hunter in West Virginia. This costs $32.50.
Approval for Work
- Proof of Employment: West Virginia requires that you be sponsored by a licensed bail bondsman to enforce bonds in this state. When you register to work as a bounty hunter in West Virginia, you must provide the name of at least one bail bondsman or bail agency you will work for. Out of state bounty hunters can also work in West Virginia, but must also prove they are working for an authorized bail bondsman.
- Register: Before you begin work, you will register with the West Virginia State Police. In addition to proof of employment and a background check, your application also needs to include a clear photograph of your face. Registration will not cost more than $50, per state law. If you’re a resident of West Virginia, you are authorized to work for two years after registration. Out of state bounty hunters are eligible for 60-day registrations.
West Virginia Bounty Hunter Duties
The duties of a West Virginia bounty hunter are much more expansive than in other states. For example, a West Virginia bond enforcer can surveil a criminal leading up to their court date and may even present them in court. This is in addition to the usual bounty hunter duties of pursuing and apprehending fugitives who have skipped their bond.
Bounty Hunter Education
If you’re interested in improving your skills as a bond enforcer, it can be a good idea to enroll in a two or four-year program. There are several degree programs that are related to bounty hunting. These programs include criminology, sociology and forensics. A criminal justice degree is also a good choice.
Careers that Are Like Bounty Hunting
To increase potential earnings, many West Virginia bond enforcers engage in similar careers, which can include working as a private detective or a process server. Both of these positions require the same investigative skills as a bounty hunter.
Major Cities in West Virginia
The majority of West Virginia bounty hunters will work in Charleston, which is the state’s largest city. However, bond enforcers may also seek employment in other cities like Morgantown, Huntington and Parkersburg.
West Virginia Bounty Hunter Employment
No data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics about the profession of bounty hunting. However, they do offer data for private detectives, which is closely related. In West Virginia, there are 40 working private investigators, and job opportunities are expected to increase by 10.5% leading up to 2022.
Private investigators and bounty hunters are paid a similar salary. West Virginia bounty hunters make an average salary of $64,060.