Bounty hunters, also known as bail enforcement agents, are not typically hired by the government. Instead, they are hired by bail bondsmen or bail bond agencies or work independently to track down individuals who have failed to appear in court after posting bail.
Here’s how it generally works…
1. Posting Bail – When someone is arrested and charged with a crime, they may have the option to post bail to be released from custody while awaiting trial. Bail is a financial guarantee that the defendant will appear in court for all required proceedings.
2. Bail Bonds – Many defendants are unable to afford the full amount of bail, so they turn to bail bondsmen or bail bond agencies for assistance. Bail bondsmen or agencies post the full bail amount on behalf of the defendant in exchange for a non-refundable fee, typically 10% of the bail amount. This fee is how bail bondsmen make their profit.
3. Responsibility – When a defendant fails to appear in court as required, the court may issue a warrant for their arrest and revoke their bail. At this point, the bail bond agency becomes responsible for ensuring that the defendant is returned to custody. The agency may hire a bounty hunter to track down and apprehend the defendant.
4. Legal Limitations – Note that the use of bounty hunters is regulated by state laws, and their authority and powers may vary depending on the jurisdiction. Also, while bounty hunters have some legal authority to apprehend fugitives, they must adhere to strict guidelines and are subject to legal limitations.
In summary, while bounty hunters are not hired by the government, they play a role in the criminal justice system by assisting bail bondsmen in locating and apprehending individuals who have failed to appear in court after posting bail.