I had a somewhat negative recently experience with a group of bounty hunters, or (as they like to call themselves), “bail recovery agents” or “fugitive recovery agents.” I'm not going to get too into what happened, but it should suffice to say that the bounty hunters arrested my client and took her away before she could get to court.
The concept of bounty hunting is rather simple: if a person out on a commercial bond fails to show up for court, in many cases, the judge will forfeit that bond and order a warrant (called an “attachment” here in Louisiana) for that person's arrest. At that point, the bonding company is on the hook for the entire amount of the bond. The bounty hunter exists to take the bonding company off the hook for the entire amount. If the bounty hunter can successfully find, arrest, and return the accused to court in a certain amount of time, they are entitled to a payment for the service. This payment usually operates as a percentage of the total bond that was originally set.
Now...the stopping and arresting of my client was completely legal under Louisiana law. The client's bonds had been forfeited and the bounty hunters were around to pick her up before she came into court that day. That we have bounty hunters in this day and age sounds strange, but it is true indeed. In fact, most states still have bounty hunters. Four states have abolished cash bail entirely (and California will become the fifth next year). In six states (FL, AR, OH, NC, SC, TX), “bounty hunters” pro se are prohibited, but in some of those states, certain persons perform the functional equivalent of bounty hunting. For example, in North Carolina, use of the term “bounty hunter” is prohibited but the practice of bounty hunting is allowed by “bail bond runners” who do pretty much the same thing. In the remaining states, people can pursue bail recovery as a profession and to hold themselves out as “bounty hunters.”
Of course, this includes Louisiana. In Louisiana, bail recovery agents must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, and have no felony convictions. That's it. There are other ancillary requirements as well; you must complete a three-month apprenticeship program and an application, but that's really it. In Louisiana, bounty hunters can (and universally do) carry guns, unlike everybody's favorite TV-show-having-canine-named-insane-hair-having bounty hunter.
I suspect the situation is similar in every jurisdiction – if you jump bail, your bonding company is almost certainly going to send somebody out looking for you. If bounty hunters are after you or you need a lawyer that will fight for your interests, call the Law Office of Alex Kriksciun today!