How do I get information about becoming a bounty hunter?

We have found that the best and fastest way is to just start emailing bail bond agents and ask for advice.  The fact is that these are the people who will be paying you and are very knowledgeable about the process (and helpful!).  You can get the email addresses off their websites.  Look for websites that have “bail”, “bond”, “bondsman”, “surety” or “bounty hunter” in the name or description.

The role of a bounty hunter

When a person get arrested, they can usually get a bail bonds agent to post bail. The bail is to guarantee that if the defendant is released they will make all court appearances. Should the defendant not show up for a court appearance, called skipping bail, then the bail bond agent risks losing all their money that was posted for the bail.

The bounty hunter tracks down the defendant, now a fugitive, and brings them back to trial so the bail bonds agent can recover some or all of their money.

Why be a bounty hunter?

Unlike the wild west days, bounty hunting has become a respected profession in the law enforcement field.  Often called Fugitive Recovery Agents or Bail/Bond Enforcement Agents, they provide a needed service and in many cases bail bond agents and law enforcement rely on them to bring fugitives to justice.

While the income varies by state, the bounty hunter can earn a very good living.  Sometimes a bounty hunter is paid a set fee, usually about 10% of the bail, but in some cases we have heard of  bounty hunters getting as much as 75% of the bail amount for bringing the fugitive in.   If you track down a few fugitives who had bail of $100,000 or more, you can see how profitable it can be.  The famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman, received 10% of a million dollar bail for bringing in the heir to the Max Factor fortune, Andrew Luster.  Your income is based on the number of fugitives you bring in so it can be very lucrative.

How to become a bounty hunter

Most countries outside of the United States do not allow bounty hunting and currently there are seven states that limit it.  In the USA it is legally recognized by the 1872 Supreme Court case Taylor v. Taintor.  So you will need to operate in the USA.  However, even though it is legal in the USA it is still regulated on a state by state basis.

Every state has its own requirements and the authority of the bounty hunter varies by state as well.  So for instance, you may be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in some states but not others.  Bounty hunters also need to know the rules for bounty hunting in neighboring states and countries as well since fleeing fugitives will often leave the area.

In general, a state will require:

  • An application accompanied by an application fee
  • A background check and fingerprint.  Each state is different in how strict they are with this.  For instance, some states have licensed felons and others with criminal records
  • You generally do not need a formal education
  • Must be 18 years old
  • In some cases, will require you to have a license to carry a firearm

Nothing stated herein should be construed or interpreted to grant rights or remedies not otherwise granted under federal or state law. This information is provided as a public service and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice or representation by a lawyer or bail bondsman. We recommend you email a bail bondsman for more information about becoming a bounty hunter situation.

If you are interested in detailed (and complex) information about the Arizona bail bonds forms such as L-BFP and L-BRA you can find them here.

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