Are Bounty Hunters The Same As Bail Bondsmen?

by GuestPoster on November 14, 2011

The answer is that a person can be both but they actually have different roles in the legal process.

A bail bondsman is a person that can answer any question about how does bail work.  They are licensed and regulated by the state and their role is to help defendants post bail.   So if a person is arrested, and their criminal charge is eligible for bail, then the judge will set a bail.  The bail is a financial amount that the defendent gives to the court to guarantee that they will make all court appearances if they are allowed their freedom until the trial is over.

When a defendant is granted bail but they cannot afford it, then they can enter into a contract with the bail bondsman.  They agree to pay the bondsman a percentage of the bail amount, usually 10-15% and the bondsman will agree to put up the rest.  The bondsman will post the bail and the defendant can be released from custody.

Now if the defendant does not show up for a court appearance, then the judge will issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest and hold the bail funds, and denying the bondsman the ability to get their money back.  Sometimes this is a very large amount and the bondsman can sometimes get that money back by finding the defendant and bringing him in.

This is where a bounty hunter makes his money.  The bail bondsman will call a bounty hunter to track down the defendant and bring him to justice.  Depending on many factors, the bounty hunter may get paid a set fee, may get paid a percentage of the bail amount, or may be paid on an time and expense rate.  Some, like dog the Bounty Hunter, are licenses as both a bondsman and a bounty hunter.

The bounty hunter is licensed by the state and in most states it requires a very extensive background check.  In Nevada, where there are licensed bounty hunters, they also require fingerprinting and a nine month training process.  One large city where they issue a lot of bail bonds Las Vegas, has almost 40 bounty hunters alone.   These people are highly trained and heavily regulated so the days of bounty hunting gunslingers are long gone.  They also have the authority to arrest as well as enter a defendant’s home to make an arrest.

One the bounty hunter brings back the defendant to the court, the bondsman can petition the court to return the bond amount.  It is customary for the court to do that minus penalty fees.

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