What is the difference between a bondsman and a bounty hunter?

What is the difference between a bondsman and a bounty hunter?

Are they the same thing? No, although they both work together and can be the same person, these are two very different job tasks. A bondsman’s job duties typically consist of arranging contracts and paperwork necessary to secure the release of a criminal defendant from custody. In order to acquire this position one must be licensed by the state in which they are providing bonds. The official title a bondsman holds is “Licensed Bail Agent”.  As such a Licensed Bail Agent has the ability to track down their own clients who do not abide by the agreement and place them into custody.

A Licensed Bail Agent must be familiar with local court systems and their offices can often be found near civic centers or court houses. When processing a bond the bail agent will require a co-signer or a signature from the actual defendant in order to document the liable party prior to the defendant’s release. A bail bonds agent is called into service when a criminal defendant needs to get out of jail.

A bounty hunter’s official modern title is “Fugitive Recovery Agent” or “Bail Fugitive Spy”, but can also be known in some communities as the slang “skip tracers” as well. A Fugitive Recovery Agent requires documentation provided by a judge in order to begin pursuing a defendant. Because of the dangerous nature of their assignments, bounty hunters must qualify and regularly test in firearms training as well as completion of the proper training on the use of non lethal weapons such as stun guns, mace, and proper restraining procedures. Tactical training is required in order to ensure the bounty hunter has an advantage in a situation if they must enter the defendant’s home. Typically a bounty hunter will be equipped with a firearm, taser, Kevlar vest (or other body armor), mace and handcuffs.

Bounty hunters typically inform law enforcement agents of their intention to arrest a target in order to avoid any mis-communication issues with law enforcement agents present at the area of interest. A Fugitive Recovery Agent is called in when a defendant does not honor their terms of the arrangement which results most commonly from skipping a court date. Bounty hunting is an interesting phenomenon occurring legally only in two countries in the world today. Only the United States of America and the Philippines make it legal to allow a third party bounty hunter to pursue and detain a defendant. This profession is very detail intensive and takes in elements from other professions such as law enforcement and private investigation.

Because of the time extensive work needed in order to successfully detain a fugitive the roles are typically split between a recovery agent and a bonds agent. Leads and tips need to be thoroughly investigated and intelligence must be gathered on the target before acquisition can be made.

Within many bail bonds companies the Licensed Bail Agent will often act as one of the Fugitive Recovery Agents as well. There is however a difference in both of the tasks which these agents may conduct throughout their practice.


A few thoughts on Skip Tracing, what it is, how to do it, and why it’s important for recovery of hard to find fugitives

When all people search efforts have been exhausted and results still don’t turn up well, a skiptrace is the next best thing to do. This is a very effective process which is used for very hard-to-locate individuals or those on the run or who don’t want to be found. The individual is possibly using different techniques and methods as well to stay hidden from any search activities. Skiptracing will then look for more clues with more advanced methods and options.

Skiptracing or skip tracing refers to the entire procedure of trying to find a person and his or her whereabouts for any given purpose. “Skip” refers to the act of the missing person to depart or rush to a new location leaving only slight clues for others to follow. “Trace” refers to the act of following a missing person’s whereabouts or “skip” which may cover more than one new location. Some people are professional skiptracers while others use the same strategies and tactics such as detectives, debt collectors and bounty hunters. The difference from common search efforts is that skiptracers look for targets with very little or no current known info.

There are several strategies involving a skiptrace since searchers are trying to find real truths and facts from sources who or which may try to deceive. Any available data on the target is properly analyzed and evaluated and other people such as relatives and third parties may be contacted in order to gain more information and find more traces.

Data gathering should be carefully planned without compromising the whole effort. In some occasions, individuals close to subjects may mislead or deceive skiptracers causing search periods to extend. The good thing is that most skiptracing experts already have the right experience and tools to differentiate which details are accurate or not. Advanced programs and applications offered on the Web can help narrow down matches with available info.

All information that lead to the target will be accessed by skiptracers such as credit reports, debts, previous phone numbers, employment status, criminal background, utility bills, social security details, public tax data and other people whom he or she has lived with in the past. These are legitimately accessed by skiptracers since the databases are open for viewing because of the nature of the transaction. The acquired data will then be compared with other public databases to gain more leads. Other individuals related to the target may be skiptraced as well if it means getting closer to the missing person.

When hiring a professional or availing of a skiptrace service online, you can expect to pay a flat rate wherein all due efforts to locate the missing individual will be done with a turn around time of 1 to 20 days. A reasonable price would be around $135. Some reliable agencies will also only charge you once the case has presented viable results. Less than useful results may not be charged or total costs may be reduced.

Some agencies allow clients to indicate the full amount they are capable of paying then charges will be done by the hour until the person is found or until all resources are exhausted. Larger companies or legal authorities may opt for a third payment option wherein skiptracing efforts will not cease until the person is located.