What to Know About Bounty Hunters
Most people have seen or at least heard about movies that involve bounty hunters. In these movies, bounty hunters are depicted as rough and are seen dragging fugitives to law enforcement so they can cash in on a well-earned percentage of a large-sum bail bond. These depictions may seem overly dramatic, but it is not too far off from the real thing. In fact, in many respects, bounty hunters actually hold a higher authority compared to local law enforcement when making arrests.
So, what does a bounty hunter do, and how much authority do they have? Continue reading to learn why knowing this information can help you understand why skipping bail and becoming a fugitive is a terrible decision.
Know the Facts Before You Skip
A defendant who deliberately misses their court dates, leaves town, or crosses the state lines without legal authorization will successfully abolish their bond agreement terms, putting themselves in a high-risk situation. As a result, the defendant puts themselves in a tough financial position and risks legal consequences. However, that’s not all. Skipping town or court dates allows your bondsman the opportunity to hire a bounty hunter.
When Does a Bounty Hunter Get Involved?
Bounty Hunters are individuals who partner with a bonds agency to get bondsman their “property” and their financial investment back. A bail bonds company takes the risk of paying for a client’s bail to help with their financial burden. They are held financially responsible for their client when he or she does not show up for their required court dates. For these reasons, the bondsman has the right to hire a bounty hunter who will then begin the process of finding their client.
Read the Bail Agreement Carefully
Before you sign the bail agreement, be sure to read the fine print. It is important that you read everything very closely, comprehend the disclosure, and understand what rights you are giving up by signing the bail agreement. The following are key factors of a legal bond agreement should you pay attention to?
- When signing a bail bond contract, the defendant is giving up their constitutional rights and agrees to possible arrest in the future by a bail bond agent. When waiving extradition, the representative gives permission to the bondsman to move the defendant across state lines.
- The bail bond contract generally includes personal payment for a bounty hunter that the bonds agency will need to hire to get the defendant back. This clarifies the irony in which the defendant is basically agreeing beforehand to pay for their own extradition when signing the agreement.
What Are Bounty Hunters Allowed to Do Legally?
Bounty Hunters are an essential part of the bail bonds process. They have specific legal rights and authorities that surpass a lot of jurisdictions that are normally given to law enforcement. These laws can vary by state; however, they are usually relatively the same across most states. Bounty Hunters have more authority to make an arrest than local law enforcement. They do not have to show or obtain a permit before making an arrest, as well as not being required to read the fugitive’s Miranda Rights. Bounty Hunters have the right to enter private property without announcing themselves and can use force when needed.
Although Bounty Hunters have a lot of power, there are some limitations and requirements they have to legally follow. They must have a copy of the “bail piece” which is a written statement saying the defendant is a fugitive. Bounty Hunters are also not legally given permission to enter the homes of family members or friends of the defendant without knowing for a fact that the fugitive is living in that residence. By doing so, the Bounty Hunter would be breaking the federal law which would result in legal consequences for him or her.
What you have just read are the basic principles of Bounty Hunting. Remember, before signing a bail bond agreement, be sure you understand what you are getting into. One missed court date could cost you a major fine, legal issues for many years to come, and the possibility of coming face-to-face with a bounty hunter.
If you are in need of help with posting bail, contact Mercy Bail Bonds at (727) 856-7775. We will walk you through the process and answer every question you have. Call us today!