A bounty hunter earns his or her salary by capturing fugitives for a monetary reward, or bounty. Bounty hunters may also be referred to as bail enforcement agents or fugitive recovery agents. In America, strict laws govern bounty hunter’s duties. Within these parameters, those who are taken into custody and post bail must adhere to certain rules.
When these rules are broken, bounty hunters may seek out missing persons and take them into custody, thereby earning ten percent (approximately) of the total bail amount posted. The bounty hunter attempts to ensure that the bail bondman who arranged bail for the criminal does not lose his or her bail money when bail rules are broken.
Therefore, bounty hunters search for bail jumpers and catch over 31,500 of these people each annum. On average, 90 percent of bail jumpers are caught by bounty hunters.
Occasionally, bounty hunters are known as skip tracers. However, this term may be somewhat of a misnomer. Skip tracing is actually the process to looking for a person through indirect methods, rather than actively pursuing and apprehending criminals. While is it possible for bounty hunters to work indirectly, via authentic skip tracing methods (and then also seek out bail jumpers through more direct, bounty hunter methods), methods vary.
Parameters for American Bounty Hunters
In America, bounty hunters have different levels of authority, depending on which states they work in. Therefore, bounty hunters must understand specific state laws that relate to their activities and then follow them to the letter. General rules for bounty hunters include their ability to enter private premises without search warrants, in order to re-arrest criminals and take them into custody.
However, bounty hunters may not go in the premises of anyone who is not a fugitive without proper warrants and legal documentation. If the owner of a property grants permission for a bounty hunter to enter his or her dwelling or go on his or her property, in order to seek out a fugitive, then doing so is permitted.
Bounty hunters don’t necessarily require formalized education and training. Typically, these sorts of workers don’t have formal licensure. They will simply require sanctions from bail bondsman in order to begin their duties as bounty hunters. However, certain states will require more from prospective bounty hunters before they are able to pursue this type of employment. For example, training and licenses may be required. Bounty hunters who move from state to state in order to apprehend bail jumpers may be subject to other stipulations and conditions.
Specific American states, such as Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia attempt to bar the practice of bounty hunting, or have banned the practice already.
Fictional Works about Bounty Hunting
Bounty hunting has been the subject of many action-type projects, including Western genre films, science fiction movies, fantasy novels and modern-day stories. Usually, bounty hunters in these stories are portrayed as helping police to apprehend wanted criminals. However, they may also be depicted as mercenaries who offer their services to certain shady operators, rather than respected authorities. In Western-style films and stories, bounty hunters are frequently characterized as “lone wolves” who ride alone and enjoy their solitude.
Depictions of bounty hunters as lone wolves may not be accurate. Many bounty hunters work in teams, thereby providing one another with vital backup. However, those who wish to get the full sum of money for re-arresting criminals may prefer to go solo, although working alone is more dangerous.
Bounty Hunters Appear on Reality TV
In reality TV, depictions of bounty hunters are also rampant. The most famous reality TV bounty hunter, Dog, is an ex-con who turned his life around by apprehending bail jumpers. His reality television program has aired on the A & E network for years, and it remains popular. During the program, he and his family attempt to trace and capture bail jumpers in the American state of Hawaii.
The TV program, Dog the Bounty Hunter, details the exploits of Duane “Dog” Chapman, who has re-captured more than 6,000 criminals over the course of his bounty hunting career. Known for his intense demeanor and born-again Christian beliefs, Chapman turned away from crime and prison time and began a new life. On the show, he tends to demonstrate compassion for most criminals that he apprehends, because he was once living the same type of life.