Understanding bail bond recovery is something both the defendant and the cosigner should be willing to understand before engaging with a bondsman. Questions about fugitive recovery agents, also known as “bounty hunters,” are very popular. In the event that a defendant “skips bail,” meaning they do not show up for scheduled court appearances as agreed and cannot be easily located, a bounty hunter is retained to bring the defendant back.
Question: Why is bail recovery important to a bondsman?
Answer: Bail bonds companies are businesses, and a business relies (mostly) on one thing: money. In the bail bond process, the defendant or cosigner is responsible for paying a 10% fee in exchange for the services that the bail bond company provides. That 10% fee is income to that company. Although, most bail bondsmen only accept a defendant as a client when they feel the individual will show up to court, sometimes that doesn’t happen. If a defendant misses court, the court will demand that the entire bail amount be paid by the company. Usually, this is a significant amount of money for the bail bonds company to absorb. Therefore, the bondsman will hire a bounty hunter to track and bring in the defendant so the bondsman is not stuck in a financial situation.
Question: What kind of authority does a bounty hunter possess?
Answer: Bounty hunters are hired to do whatever they can to bring back the defendant. It is in the best interest of the court, the company and the defendant. They can cross state lines and enter buildings to retain a defendant. However, the bounty hunter must be certain of the defendant’s location before entering buildings.
Question: What happens when the defendant is arrested by a bounty hunter?
Answer: Once the defendant is found and arrested, he or she will be brought back to the court via a local jail. Additionally, and most likely, their bail will be significantly increased to a higher amount or quite possibly, they will be held in jail without any bail at all. When the fugitive recovery agent apprehends a defendant, the bounty hunter will be paid by the bondsman, often more than the bondsman made from the client, but less than what would have been paid to the court. For example, a bounty hunter will earn 15 to 30% of the amount plus all expenses incurred in apprehending the defendant.
Therefore, if the amount was set at $10,000, the fee to the bounty hunter will be $2,000 to $3,000. In such a case, the company that was going to pay $10,000 to the court will end up saving between $7,000 and $8,000 because they used the services of a bounty hunter. Additionally, the court and the general public benefit by having the fugitive back in custody to face charges.