Bounty hunter

A bounty hunter is a private agent working for a bail bondsman who captures fugitives or criminals for a commission or bounty. The occupation, officially known as bail enforcement agent, or fugitive recovery agent, has traditionally operated outside the legal constraints that govern police officers and other agents of the state. This is because a bail agreement between a defendant and a bail bondsman is essentially a civil contract that is incumbent upon the bondsman to enforce. As a result, bounty hunters hired by a bail bondsman enjoy significant legal privileges, such as forcibly entering a defendant's home without probable cause or a search warrant; however, since they are not police officers, bounty hunters are legally exposed to liabilities that normally exempt agents of the state—as these immunities enable police to perform their designated functions effectively without fear—and everyday citizens approached by a bounty hunter are neither required to answer their questions nor allowed to be detained. Bounty hunters are typically independent contractors paid a commission of the total bail amount that is owed by the fugitive; they provide their own professional liability insurance and only get paid if they are able to find the "skip" and bring them in.

Bounty hunter
Activity sectors
United States
Fields of
(Quasi-law enforcement)
Related jobs
Bail bondsman, Thief-taker, Slave catcher, Privateer, Vigilante, Marshal, Mercenary, Citizen's arrest, Neighborhood watch

Bounty hunting is a vestige of common law which was created during the Middle Ages. Bounty hunters primarily draw their legal imprimatur from an 1872 Supreme Court decision, Taylor v. Taintor. The practice historically existed in many parts of the world; however, as of the 21st century, it is found almost exclusively in the United States as the practice is illegal under the laws of most other countries. State laws vary widely as to the legality of the practice; Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, and Wisconsin have outlawed commercial bail bonds, while Wyoming offers few (if any) regulations governing the practice.[1]

An Afro-Brazilian bounty hunter looking for escaped slaves in an 1823 portrait by Johann Moritz Rugendas.

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Bounty hunter, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.