It is essential first to establish who these bounty hunters are before evaluating whether it is legal for them to enter a fugitive’s residence. Bail enforcers or bail enforcement agents are other names for them. They are in charge of tracking down wanted individuals and paying them for their efforts.
They often don’t hold formal positions but serve as the bail bondsmen’s agents. If the defendant does not appear at their trial, the bondsmen are the representatives who owe the court the bail money. The success of the bail enforcers results in payment of a certain portion of the bail.
A Bounty Hunter’s Roles
The bail bond agency forfeits the money they had committed to pay on behalf of the defendant if someone tries to miss a court hearing and bail. They risk losing the money or items given as bail unless they can bring the defendant in front of the court. A bounty hunter will be involved to prevent the bondsmen from losing their money.
With so many cases to handle, the police lack the time and resources to track down people who jump bail. Therefore, it is up to bounty hunters to track out the fugitive and capture them. The fugitive is apprehended by the bail enforcer and taken to court, and the bail bond agent is released from the contract after receiving his money back.
The bounty hunter will receive a special payment, often between 10% and 20% of the bond sum.
Regulations for Bounty Hunters
Even though they lack official authority, bail bond agents are legally permitted to apprehend fugitives who attempt to skip bail. However, the court must first issue a bench warrant requesting the arrest of the fugitive for failing to appear in court before the agent can start looking for a bail enforcer.
Since these hunters are not law enforcement officials, they are not subject to the same stringent regulations and guidelines as the police, such as needing the warrant to enter your property and make an arrest. You formally authorize the bounty hunters to go after you when you sign the bond agreement if you fail to appear for bail. Therefore, a bounty hunter can enter a fugitive’s house and take them into custody.
They can only go inside the fugitive’s premises, though. The fugitive is not allowed to break in without permission if they are on someone else’s property for fear of being accused of trespassing.
Bail Enforcing Limits
The activities of bounty hunters are subject to some restrictions. The same cannot be done when they suspect the fugitive is at a friend’s or relative’s home, although they can break into a fugitive’s home. Depending on the state, they need proof that the fugitive is inside or authorization from the property owner. The following additional limitations apply to bounty hunters:
- They are not permitted to have weapons on them.
- Background checks and formal training are required.
- To work as bounty hunters, they must possess a license.
- Additionally, they must dress in attire that indicates they are bounty hunters.
However, some states have outright bans on bounty hunting, whereas others have less restrictions. Make sure you read the bond agreement to understand what will happen if you fail to appear for your bail.