Criminal Justice School Info

What is a Bounty Hunter?

Many of us have heard of bounty hunting or bail enforcement, but may not be sure exactly what is a bounty hunter? Simply put, a bounty hunter is an average citizen (generally having a bounty hunting license) who chases down lawbreakers and criminals for a fiscal reward. Bounty hunting often involves intense investigative work, a fair amount of expendable income for travel expenses, and a good deal of physical training. The investigative experience is necessary to track down fugitives who are quite likely to have fled the country and/or be living under assumed identities and the physical training is needed to be able to apprehend the criminals once they've been found because most criminals won't recognize a bounty hunter as a legitimate authority figure.

Bounty hunting is not for everyone. It takes a special type of person to become a bounty hunter and many who fit the profile for this line of work are more likely to go into conventional jobs like law enforcement or private investigation. One of the most interesting things about bounty hunting is that it is only legal in the United States and the Philippines. No other country in the world recognizes bounty hunting as a legal activity.



What Does a Bounty Hunter Do?

We know bounty hunters catch the bad guys, but you may be wondering: What does a bounty do? First, they are paid to track down fugitives. This is sometimes known as fugitive recovery and is often confused with skip tracing. Skip tracing, according to private investigator and bounty hunter Bill Hunt, is the act of locating an individual that is difficult to find, or is in hiding. Skip tracing is vital to bounty hunting but it isn't bounty hunting itself. After a bounty has been tracked down, either by the bounty hunter or by a private investigator, the bounty hunter goes and apprehends the fugitive. Bounties, as they are often called, are fugitives who have skipped out on paying their bail, fled the law, or have somehow flaunted federal or state legal authority in some way. Since bounties have already shown a complete disregard for the authority of law enforcement and legal courts, they often attempt to disregard the authority of a bounty hunter. Because of this, bounty hunters are often forced into confrontations with bounties in order to capture them. Bounty hunting is a job where adrenaline runs high; while it is rewarding and stimulating work, it is also dangerous and demanding.



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