What is a Bounty Hunter?

how to become a bounty hunterHave you wondered, what is a Bounty Hunter? What does it take to be a Bounty Hunter?

What is a Bounty Hunter?

What is a bounty hunter? Bounty hunters are professionals with excellent training who are sent through a bail bondsman for the purpose of properly seeking out and capturing a fugitive for monetary gain. A bail percentage is usually utilized for the bounty hunter’s remuneration, or reward, which is called the “bounty.”

Bounty hunters throughout the U.S. are usually registered and/or licensed. Bounty hunters are integral to the business of bail bonds and contribute much to our criminal justice system. Bounty hunter work is assessed closely through insurance departments for states and additional licensing agencies. While most states clearly outline (even if they don’t license bounty hunters) the proper regulation of the practice of these professionals in the state, only four states (Oregon, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin) forbid bounty hunting,

Bounty Hunters

Presently, Bounty hunters are usually immensely skilled and well-trained professionals directed by bail bondsmen to effectively return fugitives who have failed to comply with bail stipulations. In order to ascertain the fugitive’s location, Bounty hunters will focus on professional investigation, research, and interviewing.

Traits that make a good bounty hunter include the following:

resourcefulness, intelligence, perseverance, detail-oriented, determined

Many who enter the field of bounty hunting have backgrounds in the field of criminal justice and/or law enforcement and have training in skills such as firearms, weapons, martial arts, and self-defense.

It is not uncommon for bounty hunters to be private investigators or former police officers. Training and education for bounty hunters will usually vary from state-to-state with regards to requirements for licensure or registration. Although not a requirement for state licensing, many bounty hunters have acquired degrees in relevant subjects such as criminal justice; this background bodes well from a criminology and policing perspective.

Bounty Hunter History

Back in 1873, Taylor v. Taintor was the pivotal U.S. Supreme Court case setting the stage for bounty hunters to exercise authority of working bail bondsmen “agents.” This precedent gave way to bounty hunters having multiple rights, such as the following:

  • right to, within other states, pursue fugitives
  • if needed, to break into a fugitive’s home, (no warrant needed), for the purpose of apprehending the subject and returning him, or her, on revoked bonds.

The Bail Reform Act (of 1966) spurred laws (surrounding the issue of bail) to evolve. The Bail Reform Act of 1966 involved dialogue allowing prisoners release on minimal bail in order to increase the likelihood of them returning for trial. The Bail Reform Act of 1984 further empowered courts to refuse bail pertaining to individuals considered at a dangerous level too high for release.