The answer to this question lies in the nature of fugitive recovery business that the agent is engaged in. Where as many agents work as freelancers, many fugitive recovery agents work for bail bondsmen. Bail bonds men are persons who furnish the monetary sum required to secure a bail for an accused.
The bond is paid in exchange for the surety that the defendant shall appear in court whenever he is asked to do so. When the fugitive evades court appearances, the bail bonds man is the person held responsible. Therefore, he has to hire a professional fugitive recovery agent to search for the defendant to bring him before the court of law. Thus, the bounty hunters or fugitive recovery agents usually get assignments from bail bondsman.
Whereas most fugitive recovery agents work as freelancers within their own right, many work with bail bondsman or other bounty hunters. Both types of occupational services have their own pros and cons.
Being self-employed makes you your own boss. You are free to follow your own decisions regarding the plan of action and strategy that you want to follow in order to locate and apprehend the defendant. It certainly gives you more flexibility and freedom to exercise your own decision. At the same time, it also requires you to work twice as hard because your reimbursement from your avocation will directly depend on the scope of your efforts. Also, running your own business can be stressful in the beginning. Starting out as a fugitive recovery agent requires basic management and accounting skills as well as dexterity in finance and taxation. A bounty hunter has to wear many hats. Multi-tasking is extremely important to the profession.
Starting out as an apprentice may not mean big payments off the bat. At first, the agent may only make enough to make ends meet but working as an apprentice provides the agent with sufficient first hand exposure about the practises and methodology used for fugitive recovery.
Fugitive recovery agents are required to follow the rules and regulations set by statutory bodies in various states. The statutes pertaining to fugitive recovery vary from state to state. There are many states in the US that restrict bounty hunters from using firearms while entering a fugitive’s home. The regulations also differ according to the severity of the crime. Many states have no private bail system. Impersonating a police officer is also banned in all states. Bounty hunters must have a sound understanding of these laws to be able to make a lawful capture of the fugitive.
The fugitive recovery agents often have to put their lives at stake to be able to apprehend the fugitives. The fugitives often evade the law to save themselves from imprisonment and the judicial process. They can go to any lengths to resist an arrest. It is therefore imperative that the bounty hunters take the necessary care and caution to prevent any bodily harm to themselves. They must take the required safeguards to ensure that they can apprehend the fugitive while protecting their own safety.
The bounty hunters are allowed to carry firearms in many states but they are not immune from legal prosecution if a non-fugitive gets hurt in the process or apprehends an accused. Here are some care and caution that they must observe:
The agents must be extremely vigilant at all times. The agents must make a thorough assessment of the situation before proceeding to the scene. The agent must inform the local law enforcement about their presence.
If the bounty hunters inform the local police that they have a reliable lead that a fugitive is hiding at a particular location, they can arrange for necessary back up in case they get into trouble later. Apprehending a defendant is never easy. The fugitive may try everything in his might to avoid arrest. In this case, the agent must use skill and tact to secure the arrest of the person.
Non-lethal force: A fugitive recovery agent cannot coercively gain entry into a premise or carry a weapon unless the local state laws provide for it. Most states prohibit the use of both lethal and non-lethal force upon the defendants to arrest them. In many states, it has been decided in several case laws and precedents that the agent cannot use lethal or non-lethal force upon the fugitive with the purpose of arresting the individual.
Lethal force: most states altogether prohibit the use of voluntary and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person. In a landmark judgement in the state of California is alleged that a bounty hunter fired warning shots to compel the fugitive. It was decided that it was not within the rights of a recovery agent to fire warning shots at a fugitive. The fugitive recovery agent must have the required documentation before apprehending a bail fugitive. The agent must not impersonate another law officer. Further it is important that the agent must provide at least six hours of notice to local law enforcement agencies. The authorities must be kept in the loop if the fugitive recovery agent proceeds to apprehend a bail fugitive, in the lack of exigent circumstances.