How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Bounty hunter gains arrests

Bounty hunters, also called bail enforcement officers, track down and arrest individuals who have been released from police custody on bail, but who have failed to attend their court dates. Once individuals miss their trial while out on bail, they become fugitives of the law. Fugitives are apprehended by bounty hunters and returned to police custody where they’ll await trial.

Some states require bounty hunters to have a license to operate within that state. Other states do not have such a requirement, but in these states, there are strict statutes in place that regulate the practice of bounty hunting. A few states, however, have banned the practice of bounty hunting entirely. Because the licensure procedure and requirements differ from state to state, it’s important that anyone wishing to become a bounty hunter first gain knowledge of what his state requires.

Career Requirements

Candidates wishing to become bounty hunters must also meet other requirements. They must undergo a criminal background check and they must pass an exam. They must be a citizen of the U.S. and must be a resident of the state they wish to operate in. They must have a valid driver’s license. They must not have committed a felony or misdemeanor. Some states require candidates to at least be 18 years old while others require candidates to be at least 21. But most importantly, they must undergo extensive training.

Many states require prospective bounty hunters to attend an academy or community training college. There they will be taught the laws they need to adhere to while operating as a bounty hunter and the skills they’ll require to capture fugitives. Some states even require candidates to complete specific approved courses.

Learning the laws of the state regarding the profession of bounty hunting is essential because there are many, and each must be followed to the letter if bounty hunters wish to operate within that state. States like Washington require bounty hunters to have “reasonable cause” to believe that a fugitive is presently within a building before entering private property. They are also required to inform law enforcement officials that they are about to enter that property.

In Virginia, bounty hunters are required to give law enforcement officials notice 24 hrs in advance of an arrest and 60 minutes after making the arrest. After training is completed some candidates will take part in an apprenticeship, where they’ll work with a veteran in the field to gain experience.

Bounty Hunter Licensing

After training is completed, some states require candidates to first obtain a license before they can work as bounty hunters. To receive this license, candidates must take and pass a licensing exam, which will cover the laws of the state. Other requirements include a clean criminal record, an age that is at least 18 or 21 depending on the state they live in, completed training courses, and a completed apprenticeship program. In addition to these requirements, some states may also require that candidates have a background in law enforcement before they can receive a license. As soon as a bounty hunter becomes licensed he’ll be able to work freely within the state that awarded him his license.

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