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What is a Bounty Hunter?

A bounty hunter tracks the movements of fugitives and their associates.
Bail money is returned, provided the accused attends his or her court proceedings.
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  • Written By: Deborah Ng
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2014
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A bounty hunter is a person who apprehends fugitives in exchange for payment. If a defendant fails to show up for a court appearance, he is then considered a fugitive and, if his bail was provided by a bail bond company, it will often hire a someone to bring the fugitive back. The term "fugitive recovery agent" is often preferred by those in the industry because the more common term conjures up images of the old west with its "dead or alive posters" and rewards offered in exchange for the fugitive. A fugitive recovery agent works for a percentage of the bail amount, not a reward.

A career as a fugitive recovery agent is not to be taken lightly. Individuals cannot enter into this profession without research and training. In order to become a bounty hunter, a person must have knowledge of how the bail bonds industry works and must be proficient in other skills, such as detecting deceit, surveillance, skip tracing, and negotiation. This person must also know how to research and investigate missing persons, be able to access and analyze phone records of the fugitive's friends and family, and know how to dig into the fugitive's past and find all past residences. He will need to learn the fugitive's habits, vices, friends, enemies and hangouts.

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A career in this field can be quite lucrative. A bounty hunter can only apprehend those fugitives who have skipped bail, and payment is typically 10% of the bail amount. This can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for a busy agent.

In the US, different states have different restrictions on people who work in this field. For example, in certain states, a fugitive recovery agent cannot carry a firearm. In others, firearms are allowed but a background check is required; still other states require visible identification, such as that written on the back of a t-shirt or jacket. Unlike a police officer, the agent doesn't need a warrant to apprehend a fugitive and can enter private property. He is also allowed to cross state lines without an extradition treaty.

People who think that this job might be the one for them should remember that every fugitive is considered armed and dangerous. This means that their lives are frequently in danger, especially if they are doing the apprehending in a state that doesn't allow the use of firearms. In addition, there's always the chance that the fugitive will seek revenge once his jail term has ended. If this is something that a person wants to pursue, a local bail bond agency is likely to be able to provide more information.

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Discuss this Article

anon238267
Post 13

The Professional Association representing Bounty Hunters is the National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents.

anon173212
Post 12

yes a bounty hunter can carry a gun in certain states. if the state allows people to carry a ccw then a bounty hunter can use a gun but if the state doesn't they cannot use a gun only.

anon92165
Post 11

A great book on the subject, with pictures, is "Secrets of a Bounty Hunter.' It tells all, methods and manners of a professional Bounty hunter, Rhino James.

anon91126
Post 10

besides capturing bail jumpers, can a bounty hunter assume the duties of a police officer? i mean can a bounty hunter arrest someone when not in regards to him being a bail jumper?

anon60984
Post 8

A bounty hunter can use the force necessary. This means up to and including deadly force if you oppose a threat. A bounty hunter can start the arrest at gun point and then deescalate his use of force.

If you are resisting or threatening him to have threatened him on the phone he is going to use more force to take you down. However he may not use this force on anyone he is not trying to apprehend unless they are aiding the fugitive and are attempting to use force against him or her.

anon56091
Post 7

Cowboy 3092: Do you want to know if you can go into a resident or a residence? A resident is a person,

a residence is a place where people reside.

If you are going to go into a resident I suggest you have your gun drawn.

cowboy3092
Post 6

i was wondering if it was safer to go into a resident with your gun holstered or have drawn out but keep it pointed at the ground? cause ya never know.

anon21626
Post 5

what states allow bounty hunters to carry guns, and what is the average amount of money a bounty hunter makes a year?

asdsa
Post 4

can somebody from England (UK) move to the US and become a bounty hunter?

anon12898
Post 3

You can find the answers to your questions, find someone you're looking for, and yes, I know an agent who has helped recover vehicles that were stolen from servicemen while overseas - so they can recover more than just Bail. The Bounty Hunter I know is also Private Investigator, so he can and will find anyone.

anon3894
Post 2

can an agent recover or repossess vehicles?

anon3044
Post 1

Can a bail bonds use excessive force when detaining you?

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