The person who assured you that they would make their court appearance is missing, leaving you on the hook for 100% of the bond amount. For all you know, the defendant has already made it to the neighboring state or farther. Now what do you do? This is where you hire an experienced fugitive recovery agent to track the defendant down and save your money.
Fugitive recovery agents (also known as bounty hunters) locate and retrieve fugitives who have fled to avoid court appearances. Many of them have law enforcement backgrounds, giving them experience and knowledge that puts them a step ahead of bail jumpers. Studies have shown that the nation’s bounty hunters boast a success rate of between 88% and 91%.
Many bounty hunters are trained in self-defense, but they typically use research, persuasion and trickery to capture fugitives instead of resorting to physical force. Their methods for locating and capturing defendants can include:
Bail agents are the largest employer of fugitive recovery agents, but they aren’t the only ones who hire them. People who have paid the full bail amount for their friend or family member only to have the person skip town also occasionally hire bounty hunters to return the person for their court date.
Costs to hire fugitive recovery agents vary from business to business. Many agencies will charge flat fees for individual services such as skip tracing. For locate-and-apprehend jobs, they will often base their fees on a percentage of the total bond amount, plus money for costs such as travel expenses. Most fugitive recovery agents work on a contingency basis, so they will not charge the client if they aren’t able to capture the fugitive.
Different states have different laws governing fugitive recovery agents. Some states, such as Kentucky, Illinois and Oregon, don’t allow bounty hunters to make arrests. Other states place restrictions as to what a bounty hunter can and can’t do while in pursuit of a fugitive. In addition, many states require the bounty hunter to be licensed, while others don’t.
When hiring a bounty hunter to work on your case, checking to make sure that the person has all necessary qualifications and is knowledgeable about local laws can help to ensure that everything is done by the book.
AboutBail has a nationwide trusted network of local, qualified fugitive recovery agents. A quick search on AboutBail will provide you with contact information for fugitive recovery agents near you. Use that information to get in touch with a fugitive recovery service and find out more about the company’s services and costs.
Watch our video above for an explanation of the bail bond process. Learn more about how bail works.
Bail cost varies from state to state because of different statutes and regulations. Find out how much it costs in your state.