Bail Enforcement Agents vs Bounty Hunters: What's the Difference?

State-licensed bail bond agents can hunt down and detain fugitives just like a bounty hunter does in other states. Trained bounty hunters work with bondsmen to track down, locate, arrest, and return fugitive criminals to the criminal justice system. The guarantors pay them to provide such services, making them an integral part of the nation's criminal justice system. Bail bond agents and bounty hunters both form part of the bond system, but they perform very different functions of varying importance.

Bond agents provide an essential service to the legal system, while bounty hunters ensure the integrity of the agreement with the client. In fact, it's not uncommon for a bail bond agent to have two professions at once, such as those commonly associated with private detective firms and private security services. A bail bond agent is hired by a bondsman to track down criminals who skip bail. For providing this service, they are paid a fee called a “reward”.

Work is generally considered to be quite dangerous and the monetary rewards aren't always fantastic, although they can be very reasonable in some situations. A family member or the defendant signs a contract with the guarantor for a percentage fee of the original amount of the bond. The bond agent has a state license from the insurance department to pay a bond with a percentage fee. In general terms, a bail bond agent is a person who makes a loan to an accused criminal, usually while in jail, to help that person pay the bail and obtain their release.

In the event that an offender has missed their bail, the guarantor is legally responsible for the amount of the bond. If this happens, bail bond agents should work with bounty hunters to track down and return fugitives to the criminal justice system.

Maya Rayshell
Maya Rayshell

Unapologetic web junkie. Total pop culture nerd. Lifelong food advocate. Infuriatingly humble music aficionado. Lifelong web fan. Award-winning pop culture expert.

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