Bounty Hunters 101: From the Big Screen to Your Front Door
25 Mar, 2016//Posted by : aebbvelocityloca//Category : blog
If I mention the term “bounty hunter” most people will immediately picture a poncho-clad Clint Eastwood or even the mysterious Boba Fett from the “Star Wars” saga. While your first image might just be a charming outlaw rogue, bounty hunting is actually a legal business today and bounty hunters are skilled experts who are one of the key cogwheels in the clockwork that is the modern justice system.
When a person accused of a crime cannot afford to pay for their bail, they may enlist a bail bondsman to loan them the amount they require to cover their bail in return for a percent of the amount. The bail bond is an insurance which guarantees that the convicted individual will show up in the court according to when their hearing is scheduled. Should the accused skip their hearing and leave town, the bail bond has to be compensated which falls upon the fugitive’s friend or relative serving as a co-signer or the bail bondsman and their agency. In those cases when the police can’t track the fugitive the bail bond agency hires a bounty hunter to track them down.
Bounty hunters first appeared in England, and have come a long way from their humble origins and the silver screen stereotypes. Contrary to what most people think, bounty hunting is completely legal in the United States today and depending on individual state laws the bounty hunters may even have greater authority to apprehend an escapee than the police. In order to apprehend a convict a bounty hunter needs to present the paperwork proving that the person arrested is a fugitive and in some cases a copy of the fugitive’s bail bond. Unlike the police, bounty hunters do not need a warrant to enter a private residence given that they are 100% positive that the fugitive is located there. They cannot enter the homes of the escapee’s family of friends unannounced unless they are harboring the fugitive and the bounty hunter has definitive proof of this.
As the fugitives tend to go underground and disappear, the bounty hunters must resort to various methods in order to locate their “pray”. A bounty hunter interrogates the co-signer and all the fugitive’s known contacts for information about the bail jumper and checks the jumper’s phone numbers and addresses in order to track them down. A bounty hunter will do thorough surveillance of the escapee’s last known location whether by placing cameras, bribing the locals to report any suspicious activity or organizing a stakeout personally. A bounty hunter may frequently check the escapee’s mailbox or tap their telephone and try to trace their calls.
While bounty hunters are allowed to carry weapons they usually don’t resort to violence unless they are prompted to by the fugitive’s actions. A small percentage of the fugitives does attempt to avoid apprehension, but they are more likely to try and run than to resort to a physical confrontation with the bounty hunter. The greatest weapon in the bounty hunter’s arsenal is surprise, so a good bounty hunter often stalks the fugitive and upon locating them approaches carefully or in disguise, for example dressed as couriers.
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