The United States legal system has been concerned with high bail amounts over the last few decades.
This leaves most people to use the services of bond agencies to pay their bail. If you miss a court date, the agency will send a bounty hunter to get you.
A bounty hunter is a trained civilian that will track a criminal down and take them to court. They aren’t the police, so there is a limit to what they can do. Let us get into the details and see what powers they have while hunting.
Can A Bounty Hunter Enter Your Home?
Yes, a bounty hunter can go into your house with limits. They must prove that it’s your house, and they legally can’t go into another person’s property.
The bounty hunter must see or hear the fugitive to prove they are in the house. They also need to ensure the breach won’t harm innocent people in the house.
How To Become A Bounty Hunter
Have you ever seen a bounty hunter make an arrest and think,” I want to do that.”? You can go from civilian to bounty hunter if you want to. Let us break down all aspects and see how you would go about doing this;
In modern society, bounty hunters find and arrest defendants that miss court dates. Bounty hunters are responsible for the arrests of 99% of defendants that skip bail. With this work, they make about $50000 annually.
Most bounty hunters have some form of previous law enforcement experience to help them find and arrest suspects.
This experience is unnecessary, and practically anyone can become a bounty hunter. However, there are some legal requirements you should think about.
If you live in Oregon, Nebraska, Kentucky, Wisconsin, or Illinois, you will have to move to become a bounty hunter.
Bounty hunting is illegal in these states, and you will end up in jail for it. Other states need a license or other certification.
You must attend bounty hunting school to attain the license. Some States like Hawaii don’t even need certification.
This is not official legal advice. If you are serious about bounty hunting, you should talk to a local lawyer.
Once all the paperwork is ready, you can go hunting, but first, you need gear. Bulletproof vests, flashlights, handcuffs, and cellphones are standard. It would help if you also had a laptop with internet access to criminal search databases online.
Some bounty hunters also have guns. You will need to pass all background checks and gun courses to get a firearm license.
You need to follow the gun laws in whichever state you operate. For instance, Hawaii doesn’t allow open or concealed carry of firearms.
Getting a gun is tricky, and many bounty hunters choose non-lethal options. Pepper spray, tasers, and batons could work for most situations unless your bounty is dangerous. Once you have the training and equipment, it’s time to get a job.
To get a bounty hunting job, you need to know a bondsman. You need to convince the bonds agency that you can deliver the escapees. You might need to do some jobs for free, but it is worth it to get into the game.
Some bonds agencies won’t hire you; instead, they will send you to a veteran bounty hunter. This person could mentor you and give you valuable skills to help you get a job. Eventually, you will learn enough to know how to track people.
You need investigative skills to help you retrace the suspect’s steps and find them. Most skills come with experience, and you will get better at them with time.
You could collect public bounties that agencies put out to allow any bounty hunter to look for skippers.
What You Can and Can Not Do As A Bounty Hunter
After months of training, you are finally ready to take your first job. You call a bonds agency, and they give you a skipper they have been looking for. You go out full of bravado to collect the bounty, but things don’t go so well for you.
You go out, and you see someone that resembles the skipper. You follow them home and break in the door to make your bust. Once inside, you realize it isn’t the defendant, and you hurt your kid.
The police arrest you, and before you know it, you are the bounty. To avoid such a situation, you need to understand the abilities of a bounty hunter. Let us break each one down and get you on your way;
1. Bounty hunters must have the Bailpiece.
The bondsman must give you a Bailpiece. This legal document confirms that the skipper is a criminal on the run. It doubles as the power of attorney to bring the skipper back to the bonds agency.
Even if you see them, you can’t do anything to a skipper without this paper. Think of it as an arrest warrant for bounty hunters. You can present this to law enforcement should you get in trouble while performing your duties.
2. Bounty hunters can enter the skipper’s home.
A bounty hunter with a Bailpiece can enter a fugitive’s home and arrest the fugitive. They can’t get into the house unless they suspect the skipper is inside. They don’t need a warrant for properties owned by the defendant.
If the skipper is in another person’s home, the bounty hunter needs a warrant. They can go to the local courthouse and get permission or speak to the homeowner. With these documents, the bounty hunter can go into the house and make the arrest.
An important detail in the house entry is that no civilians should get hurt. If the skipper is with civilians, tailing them and grabbing them at a safer location would be best.
3. Bounty Hunters can arrest escapees.
With the Bailpiece, a bounty hunter can legally arrest the escapee. This is not a citizen’s arrest; you can detail and handcuff the defendant. Bounty hunters aren’t police, so they won’t need to read the defendant’s rights.
The law limits the power to arrest the defendant. A bounty hunter can’t arrest anyone else even if they commit a crime. You can’t use excessive force when arresting; this might lead you to lose your job.
Remember that the bondsman will only get the bail money back if the skipper makes it to court. So you can’t use lethal force that could lead to death. If you kill a defendant, you won’t get paid, and you might end up in jail.
4. Bounty hunters must stay within the country.
When looking for a bounty, it is best to stay within your country. The US and the Philippines are the only countries where bounty hunting is legal. Anything you do in another country might lead you to jail next to your bounty.
Even in the US, you need to stay away from the states where bounty hunting is illegal. Always talk to a lawyer about such sensitive matters as the jurisdiction to avoid crossing the line.
How Bounty Hunters Find Escapees
The US is a big country, and it is difficult to find someone since there are so many places to hide. So how do bounty hunters find their skippers?
The first step in getting a fugitive is research. A bounty hunter will collect everything they can about their skipper.
They include name, birthday, phone number, phone records, social security number, credit card statements, etc.
These can help you know where the skipper is and who they have talked to. Talk to friends, family, and coworkers to see if they know where the skipper is. Professional bounty hunters say there is always a Judas that could give you the skipper’s location.
You can try a bribe if no one is willing to talk. A few hundred bucks to the right people could help you get the skipper. You could ask shady friends that might need the money and are more likely to give in.
Eventually, leads will get you to the skipper. The good news is that most escapees don’t resist arrest. Most will come along without a hassle, but it will be best to use non-lethal force if they resist.
You can use pepper spray or a teaser to subdue the skipper. You will have to rely on hand-to-hand combat if you don’t have any weapons. Be careful, so you don’t harm yourself or other people around the defendant.
Can a bounty hunter enter your home? You now know all the abilities of a bounty hunter, including their access to your home. A bounty hunter can arrest a skipper if they have the correct documentation. A Bailpiece is the most important document for a bounty hunter.
You must try your best to deal with the defendant safely and legally. Please don’t use excessive force, as they could press charges and turn the tables on you. Operate in your jurisdiction and keep the law in mind, and you’ll be cashing in bounties in no time.