SO YOU WANT TO BECOME A BOUNTY HUNTER, EH?
So, a lot of us have heard the term, ‘Bounty hunter’ thrown around every now and then. In pop culture, one of the most famous bounty hunters is Boba Fett from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. He was so cool, right? A lot of us, however, don’t actually know what or who these people are.
JUST WHAT EXACTLY IS A BOUNTY HUNTER? WHAT DO THEY DO?
First off, the term ‘bounty hunter’ is a tad archaic and they are more commonly referred to as bail enforcement agents, bail agents, bail officers, fugitive recovery officers or bail fugitive recovery specialist. A bail agent is a person who arrests fugitives in return for compensation. This ‘fugitive’ is usually a person who fails or refuses to come for an arranged court hearing.
The court is allowed to issue or put out a bench or arrest warrant on the defendant, due to failure to show. Once this is done, the bail bondsman, who posted the fugitive’s bail, can choose to forfeit the money or drag the fugitive defendant to court for trial. Aforementioned bail bondsman usually hires a bounty hunter to ‘hunt’ for this fugitive and bring him/her to court. The bounty hunter is the bondsman’s way of making sure that the clients he is charged with, show up to court.
It is common for bounty hunters to carry anoint weapons similar to those carried by law enforcement personnel. They might carry things like a badge, stun gun, bulletproof vest and so on.
In the process of recovering a fugitive from the law, bounty hunters have an edge over law enforcement personnel in the sense that when they come to arrest a fugitive, they do not need a warrant to gain access to the person's personal property. They do, however, need the warrant to arrest the person.
DO YOU WANT TO BECOME THE NEXT BOBA FETT OR DUANE CHAPMAN?
To become a fugitive recovery agent, one has to look at the State in which one has the intention or serving as a bounty hunter. Some states have stricter rules of training and licensing than others. For instance, in California and Texas, bounty hunters need to pass some training courses and are subjected to rigorous background checks. In a state like Louisiana, bounty hunters are required to wear clothing that identifies them as bail agents.
In Kentucky, it is against the law to be a bounty hunter. But if a fugitive were to run into Kentucky to evade federal charges, he or she can be hunted down in Kentucky.
Most bail agents are disallowed from carrying firearms except they have the proper permits. Bail agents are usually employed by bail bondsmen and can legally work in all 50 states in the US, except Kentucky. These brave men and women have an obligation that the fugitives from justice appear in court.
BOUNTY HUNTERS IN MEDIA
I am sure some of you are fans of Dog: The Bounty Hunter and may have heard that the host of the show, Duane Chapman pursued a fugitive called Andrew Luster, in Mexico way back in June 2003. While in Mexico, Duane was arrested because under Mexican law, his arrest of the fugitive was not legal and what he did was essentially kidnapping.
A little time after his release and return to the US, a Mexican prosecutor named Duane Chapman and his team, fugitives from justice themselves. In September of 2006 though, a few days before the statute of limitations would expire, fugitives recovery agents from the U.S Marshal Service arrested Duane Chapman and his team, and subsequently jailed them in Honolulu, Hawaii, acting on behalf of the Mexican authorities. As at February of 2007 however, Hawaii State Reps asked the President of Mexico to drop the extradition charges filed against Duane Chapman and his team.