Before determining whether bounty hunters are allowed by law to break into a fugitive’s home, it is crucial to first understand who these bounty hunters are. They are also referred to as bail enforcers or bail enforcement agents. They are the people responsible for seeking out fugitives and rewarded with money in return.
Usually, they do not have any official authority, but they are agents for the bail bondsmen. The bondsmen are the agents who owe the court bail money in case the defendant does not show up during their trial. Upon the success of the bail enforcers, they are rewarded with a given percentage of the bail.
Roles of the Bounty Hunter
In case someone skips a court trial and tries to skip bail, it is the bail bond agent that loses their money, which they had agreed to pay on behalf of the defendant. Unless they can produce the defendant before the court, they stand to lose that cash or property, which was remitted as bail. So that the bondsmen do not lose their money, a bounty hunter will be brought in the picture.
The police have numerous cases to deal with and do not have the time and resources to follow up those who skip their bail. So the job is left for bounty hunters to locate where the fugitive is and apprehend them. When the bail enforcer gets hold of the fugitive, they are taken to court, and the bail bond agent is given back his money after being released from the agreement.
The bounty hunter will now be paid a certain percentage of the bond amount, which usually falls between 10 to 20 percent.
Laws Relating to Bounty Hunters
Even though bounty hunters have no official capacity, the law provides an avenue whereby bail bond agents can get fugitives who try to skip bail. However, before the agent can look for a bail enforcer, the court must issue a bench warrant asking for the arrest of the fugitive for failing to show up in court.
Since these hunters are not officers, they do not follow the strict rules and procedures followed by the cops, such as producing a warrant to enter into your property and arrest you. When you sign the bond agreement, you technically allow the bounty hunters to come after you in case you skip the bail. So that means that a bounty hunter can break into a fugitive’s home to arrest them.
However, they are only allowed to enter the fugitive’s property only. If the fugitive is in someone else’s property, they are not allowed to break in without permission lest they will be charged with trespassing.
Limits to Bail Enforcing
There are certain limits to bounty hunters’ activities. In as much as they can break in a fugitive’s home, the same cannot happen when they believe the fugitive is at a friend’s place or a relative. Depending on the state, they need to have reasonable doubt the fugitive is inside or permission from the owner of the premises. Here are other restrictions placed on bounty hunters:
- They are not supposed to carry firearms
- They require formal training and background checks
- They need to have a license to operate as bounty hunters
- They also need to put on clothes that denote that they are bounty hunters
Some states, however, have banned the bounty hunting activities completely while some have less strain on these activities. Ensure you read out the bond agreement so that you are in terms of what should happen should you skip your bail.