What is a Bounty Hunter?

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?

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.


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Boogie with Stu

Well this guy here gets the idiot of the year award. After he skipped court, the co-signer of his bond didn’t know exactly where he was, just where he hangs out at. So I go down to the hood where he’s supposedly roaming around. I drive up and down some streets and then I finally spot him standing along side the street. I pull up to him and he walks up to my window and asks me if I need any pot!! LOL.. what a moron..

If you see a cracker in a white impala driving through your hood, it’s probably not a good idea to try to sell him weed. So as the story goes.. I said “yes, I do need something”, I then step out of the car and cuff and stuff him. Total bond recovered was $2,500. It was a small bond, but I posted this due to his stupidity.




Ok.. this fella here skipped out on court cause he was apparently facing some prison time for a felony DUI and felony driving on suspended license. His father was really nice fella and had no idea where his son was. The only thing he knew was his son was somewhere in a hotel in south St. Petersburg. Ugghh… I hate when I hear that.

So I start driving around.. thats one part I really dislike. So after about 3 hours of driving around I spot a van that resembles his. I also notice its backed into a parking spot and the bumper is practically in some bushes which is a for sure sign someone is trying to hide their license plate from the police. So I run the tag on the van and sure enough, its his van.

I locate the room he’s in and knock. A female answers the door and I barge in. Unfortunetly.. I shouldn’t have gone by myself this time because the room was FULL of people. When you encounter a situation like this, it’s good to be a total asshole and scream and yell. It shows your not scared and you mean business.

All of the people are ordered to get down and they do, and the target is cuffed and stuffed. He’s returned to the county jail and later convicted of felony DUI and driving on a suspended license, and given a 5 year prison sentence. Total bond recovered was $20,750.



The Lemon Song

After this guy skipped out on court I went down to his grandmas’ house where he was staying at. I call local police due to the fact that the suspect had previously taken them for a high speed pursuit in which he allegedly ran 7 stop signs. So the local police bring the K-9 and about 6 deputies. I raid the house and the suspect isn’t there.

Later on, I find an address for where he might be staying. I call local police again and we pull up to the house. I notice a car in the driveway with both front doors open. I run up on the car and my suspect is sitting in the passenger’s side, smoking a blunt. At first, he doesn’t put his hands up on the dash. Just about to get tazed, he finally decides to listen. One of the deputies drags him out and cuffs him.

In the meanwhile, his brother comes out to see what all the yelling is about. He tried to go back inside when he saw the police, but it was too late. The police run his name and he comes back with felony warrrants. They are both taken to jail and the defendent later recieved a one year jail sentence for driving on suspended license (felony) and aggravated fleeing and eluding. Total bond recovered was $10,500



Achilles Last Stand


Ok this was offically the most diffulcult fugitive I’ve ever chased. This arrest occured on 04/27/08. I bonded the guy on a 6 count sale/possession of cocaine and marijuana. With his previous convictions of possession charges/firearm and resisting arrest with violence he was allegedly facing 40 months in the state prison.

So he runs and is very diffulcult to find in the neighborhoods I had to locate him in. Crackers like me cannot get in these hoods undetected. At one point I spotted him and chased him. As I attempted to jump an 8ft wall I dislocated my shoulder and he got away. Previous to this incident I raided about 5 other homes.

Finally I got an address for him through some expert bountyhunting tricks. So we surround the house, complete with K-9 and I knock. The female inside REFUSES to open the door. I proceed on kicking in the door. It’s heavily fortified. I then go to a window and begin pounding.. At that time I shatter the window. The suspect took a quick chance to run, then spotted the K-9 and realized this time there was no way out.

With children inside, windows being broken,doors being kicked in.. He finally opens the front door and surrenders. Total bond recovered was $15,750.



Candy Store Rock


This capture was more diffulcult than others. I really had no leads for the most part. This girl allegedly had a drug problem and pretty much left her child with family members. So I go to her last known area and start asking around. Later on that night I go into a REAL rough biker bar. Lets just say I wasnt welcomed..lol… good thing I know how to handle myself.

Anyway, after pissing some local patrons off I finally get a solid lead. I set up on the mobile home and notice some activity inside. I call local police and we knock on the door. The owner answers and says she’s not inside. If your not able to tell when someone is lying to you, your not going to be able to be a good bountyhunter at ALL!!

I was able to tell he was lying and insisted on searching his home. He’s not going along with that idea to well and the police get a little rough with him and remove him from the mobile home. After a quick search, I find the defendant inside and she’s cuffed and stuffed. It took me a whole 2 days to find her when I started with no leads… man I’m good.



In The Evening


This one here skipped bond and left his mother out to dry. She claimed she had no idea where he was and I believed her. The only thing we knew was that he was somewhere in south St. Petersburg living at a motel.

So I go down to the local ones I’m familiar with and pass out his picture. Later on that night I received a call saying the fugitive just checked in. So I go down and knock on the door and he answers. He’s cuffed, stuffed and transported back to jail.

Leaving your elderly mother hang out to dry like that… disgusting. Total bond recovered was $45,000.