A bail bondsman posts bail in order to secure the release of a person who has been charged with a crime from jail. By doing this, they take on some responsibility for ensuring that the person shows up for all their required court appearances. If the person fails to appear, the bail bondsman may forfeit the bail bond amount unless they can bring the person to court or return them to custody within a specified time period.
The bondsman may therefore take certain steps in order to secure the return of the person to custody including the right to legally arrest the person in order to reclaim the bail money that they put up. They may employ a bounty hunter, if they are not a bounty hunter themselves, to perform this task. The bounty hunter will be paid a portion of the bail money that will be returned to the bondsman upon securing the person and returning them to custody.
Should the period for returning the person to custody expire, the bondsmen may still pursue and apprehend the fugitive. This pursuit will be in order to reclaim their losses from the person who did not fulfill their bail conditions and appear in court or fled the law. The bail bondsman may still make an arrest in this case and return the person to jail.
A bounty hunter or bondsman may pursue a suspect across state lines. However, they may not pursue the fugitive across international borders due to the fact that just about all countries outlaw bounty hunting and they may be arrested for attempting to pursue or capture a fugitive in another country.
Due to the fact that a bounty hunter is not a police officer or government agent, they are not bound by the same laws and procedures that must be followed during an arrest. They do not require a warrant in order to arrest a fugitive. They may also pursue the person and arrest them in any residence, dwelling or workplace.
In addition, there are no rules applied to how long the bounty hunter can hold the fugitive in order to return them to official custody. The person can be detained by the bounty hunter for an unlimited amount of time to allow them to return the fugitive to jail.
In some states a bounty hunter or bondsman may legally carry a weapon or firearm and use it in the pursuit and apprehension of a fugitive. However, if the weapon is discharged or the person being pursued is wounded in an effort to detain them, the case will be investigated in order to determine if the events were necessary and legal.
A bounty hunter or bondsman is required to identify themselves and their intentions when they have located a suspect and want to make an arrest. Some states even require that the bounty hunter wear clothing or another item that clearly identifies them.
A bail agent will take as many steps as necessary to avoid having to pursue and arrest a fugitive. Over and above the court system assessing the flight risk of a suspect, they will also try to ensure that the person is more than likely to adhere to their bail conditions. Normally a bondsman will apply additional charges should the person not appear in court.
In some cases, the bondsman will only provide bail if a family member or friend cosigns the bail agreement thereby taking on some responsibility for ensuring court appearances. This provides an additional reason to prevent a suspect from fleeing before their trial date as the relative or friend may become responsible for returning the bail money.
Patricia Vazquez is the owner of Access Bail Bonds in Riverside, CA and has been in the bail bonds industry for over 20 years. Access Bail Bonds has helped many families thru these difficult, and scary bail bond cases.