For bail agents and fugitive recovery agents, safety can take the form of reasoning, martial arts or use of weapons. Many of the defense mechanisms bail agents or fugitive recovery agents choose to use are largely based on personality, experience and intuition. When individuals were polled in the industry regarding the preferred form of self-defense, 40% chose the power of persuasion, 40% chose to carry a weapon and 20% said they rely on street smarts. Still, even the most sensible agent or best negotiator can run into a road block or two.
When necessary, agents within the bail industry have been known to apply everything from reasoning to martial arts training to a provoked use of weaponry to keep themselves safe. The importance of writing quality bail bonds with strong collateral may help to reduce the likelihood of a skip and also the dangers that are associated with recovering a skip. Good communication with clients and especially co-signers allows bail agents to maintain a constant connection.
Bail agents and recovery agents develop their ability to reason and rationalize situations for their clients through experience and confidence gained over the years. Often times, however, a skip is unavoidable. A keen eye trained to analyze each situation and exercising precaution will help keep a recovery agent and their team safe. No matter the level of experience an agent possesses, there are the occasional instances when even the most seasoned of veterans feels a little uncomfortable. While feelings of uncertainty vary on case by case, it is crucial to always take precautions.
For many recovery agents, compiling information from credible sources and creating a broad and ever expanding network of individuals within the industry is a crucial step in the recovery process. As well, completing research and surveillance on the skip and their location may help to eliminate hidden dangers when retrieving clients. By double and triple checking all matters and establishing the safety procedures for recovering skips, you increase your recovery rate, plain and simple. Establishing early diplomacy, acting thoroughly and sustaining a cautious mentality when apprehending individuals helps to ensure safety for the agent while on a job.
Despite the use of diplomacy and martial arts in fugitive apprehension, weapons are also prevalent in the bail industry. When bail bond companies were polled on the necessity to carry a weapon, 75% said they feel the need to carry one, while 25% said they do not. Both bail and recovery agents are known to carry weapons ranging from handcuffs to tasers to hand guns.
At any one moment an agent must be prepared to think rationally, reason through the situation at hand and provide enforcement while sustaining a safe environment for all parties involved. Preparation, determination and maintaining a level head are crucial to a successful day in the field. As it goes to show, when an agent is well versed in the many facets of defense tactics, safety is no longer a question but a discipline.
There are those people who are quick to voice their opinion that the wealthy, the famous and the privileged receive obvious preferential treatment, including being processed more efficiently through the system, when someone within their social circle is arrested. A mug shot and fingerprints are taken, a bond amount is settled on and once a call is made, off they go, out the door and on with their life. After all, there is no need for a call to be placed to a bail bonds agent when a friend, family member or manager can simply swipe a credit card or write a check for the full bail amount. But with fame comes the mug shot splashed across the newspaper, Internet and magazine covers, which is an experience the average person will never be able to comprehend, nor understand the emotional fallout that comes with that level of embarrassment.
Many individuals who are a part of the judicial system – defense attorneys, prosecutors, and even bail bonds agents who are sometimes discreetly called in to post a bond – have been quick to dispute the notion of special treatment being shown to the wealthy. These professionals have insinuated that there are instances where a harsher sentence or a stiffer fine has been imposed upon their client because this is an opportunity for the court to make an example of the defendant and stress the seriousness with which it views the crime that’s been committed by a person who lives in the public eye (a.k.a. a role model).
Here is a list of recent celebrity bail amounts and the crime they are accused of committing:
Lindsay Lohan – actress/singer – DUI / theft – $300,000 / $75,000
O.J. Simpson – football player/actor – robbery – $250,000
Randy Quaid – actor – fraud and burglary – $100,000
Ryan O’Neal – actor – assault – $50,000
Sean Avery -NY Rangers NHL – pushed a police officer – $20,000
Adrian Pasdar – actor – DUI / driving 94mph – $15,000
Jaime Pressly – actress – DUI – $15,000
Then there are those famous individuals who are held without bail until their trial.
Wesley Snipes – actor – failure to pay taxes – No Bail
Leif Garrett – singer- herion possession – No Bail
Some celebrities have had to rely on a bail bonds agent to post their bond because of financial issues; they may be famous but they are no longer wealthy. So the argument may rage on regarding whether or not the wealthy, the famous, the celebrity is treated better or worse when an arrest occurs, but one thing is certain: the average person may wait a little longer for a bail bonds agent to set them free, but unlike those who live their life in the public eye, they will not be forced to share their arrest (and mug shot) with the rest of the world.
What is a bounty hunter?
A bounty hunter is a person that works with a bail bondsman to apprehend a subject that has failed to appear to a court date after having posted bail for a pending trial. When an individual posts bail they are not paying their way out of a conviction. Instead they are paying for their release from holding pending their trial. If the defendant is found to be guilty by the court they must still serve the time mandated by the judge from the trial. They are however awarded the privilege of freedom during the trial.
Because of the flight risk involved an individual must be responsible for the defendant’s actions when they post bail for a pending trial. The bondsman who signed the bond for the defendant’s release is the one who is ultimately responsible to ensure the individual shows up to their court appearances on the designated dates. In the event that an individual who is out on bail does not appear in court they are issued a failure to appear (FTA) warrant at which time they are considered a fugitive.
When this occurs the bondsman responsible for the fugitive contracts a bounty hunter or in many cases acts as the bounty hunter themselves to apprehend the fugitive. A bounty hunter’s proper business title is Fugitive Recovery Agent and they are required to hold the proper certifications for this occupation in order to operate in their local or federal jurisdiction. In many cases a bondsman will act as their own bounty hunter but there are some instances as well where these positions are held by different individuals in a company.
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.
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.