Bail Bond Enforcement Officers are not Law Enforcement Officers

Bail bond officers, sometimes also known as bail recovery agents, are more popularly known as bounty hunters.  The words might conjure up images of horse-riding bounty hunters back in the wild west, hunting and tracking fugitives cross-country for the amount of their bounty. These days, modern-day bounty hunters go by a more politically correct name: bail bond enforcement officers; and they have also shucked off the wild persona of their wild west predecessors (at least for the most part). In essence, however, their function is the same: to bring back a fugitive to the jurisdiction of the court where they were released on bail, in exchange for some monetary compensation. Perhaps another, and more crucial difference now is that bail bond enforcement officers are no longer acting as free agents where different bounty hunters may have considered it a contest among them to see who could bring back a fugitive. Mostly, bail bond enforcement officers these days are hired directly by the bail bondsman because of their interest in having the defendant brought back to the court’s jurisdiction, thus eliminating the atmosphere of “hunting” that may once have been impressed upon the profession, more info about this can be found at bail bonds san diego website.

law enforcement

There may be an understandable level of confusion on whether or not bounty hunters can be considered as law enforcement officers. After all, regarding purposes, they have something in common: their interest is to bring a fugitive back to the jail, or more appropriately, to the jurisdiction of the court where their case is being tried. But the commonality ends there. Bail Bond enforcement officers are not law enforcement officers. And here’s why:

  • Law enforcement officers are agents of the state; bail bond enforcement officers are private and independent contractors

Law enforcement officers such as the police and deputies from the sheriff’s department work to keep the peace, promote peace and order, and implement the laws on behalf of the duly constituted state government. Other law enforcement officers such as the FBI are federal officers, and they work on behalf of the duly constituted government of the United States. Bounty hunters, on the other hand, are beholden to no such higher authority. They are private contractors who do their job based on a private contract.

Speaking from a practical level, though, many of those who do work as bail bond enforcement agents have backgrounds either in law enforcement or even in the military. In many instances, the skill set that is required is the same, whether in terms of being investigators or in dealing with dangerous individuals.

  • Law enforcement officers and bail bond enforcement officers are not regulated in the same way

Our law enforcement officers are held to a high standard of conduct – they are bound to uphold the constitution and the bill of rights, particularly the constitutional provisions against unreasonable searches and seizures, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to counsel. Being agents of the state, they are bound by the laws that they work to uphold.… Read more

How a Bail Bondsman Can Get You Out of Jail After Being Arrested

A person who has been arrested and detained in jail has one prevailing thought in mind: how to get out, and as quickly as possible. Nobody can argue that spending time in jail will not have a serious impact on the detainee, whether it is only for a brief period or for several years.

Pretrial detention is a unique challenge facing the court system. An accused is usually detained in jail pending trial. But because there is a prevailing presumption of innocence, as well as a widespread acceptance of the fact that a person can better prepare himself for his trial if he were not in jail, bail is usually granted. Bail works by requiring the defendant to post a bond of a certain monetary value, conditioned upon his return to court during his scheduled court dates. If he does not show up during his trial, then bail will be canceled, and a new warrant will be issued for the defendant’s arrest.

jail cell

But all this is assuming that the defendant was able to secure his release on bail in the first place. Sadly, the reality is that a great number of the inmates incarcerated in jail throughout the country are there because they cannot afford to pay their bail. Some thirty percent of the total prison population are there because they could not afford their bail. And even though the charges against them are bailable, they have no choice but to remain in jail, where conditions are not often ideal, and in the company of other arrested criminals, often in conditions of overcrowding. This, despite not having been found guilty of anything yet, and while still being entitled to due process. Often, many defendants simply choose to plead guilty to a lower offense, regardless of his actual guilt or not, if it meant his immediate release from prison.

This is why the services of a Clearwater bail bonds agents are so crucial to the current state of the legal system. Many times, the judges who set the bail amount do so without fully understanding that the defendant simply cannot afford it. For a considerably smaller amount, the bail bondsman will post a surety bond with the court or the jail to secure the defendant’s release as soon as possible. In effect, the bail bondsman is acting as your surety, guaranteeing your return to court during the scheduled dates. And because the bail bondsman has relevant experience in navigating the court and prison systems on behalf of a defendant, he will also be able to secure your release at the soonest possible date.… Read more

How to Become a Bail Bond Enforcement Officer

The requirements on how to become a bail bond enforcement officer vary greatly between states. There are at least four states which prohibit both the bail bonds industry and bounty hunting: Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, and Wisconsin. In other states, bail bond enforcement officers are largely unregulated, and people can do the work of a bounty hunter without much else than the desire to do so.

Somewhere in between these two extremes are states in which bail bond enforcement officers are recognized, but are regulated. Most of the time, the regulatory bodies are either the state insurance commission, the department of finance, or the judiciary. Some states require bounty hunters to be licensed or to have gone through a prescribed form of formal training before they can be allowed to practice their profession. There are at least 22 states to date that require bail bond enforcement officers to be licensed.

The basic requirements for who qualifies to be bail bond enforcement officers also vary between states, but in general terms, the requirements are pretty much what you would expect:

  • Age requirement of at least 18 years old
  • Resident of the state for at least a year or more
  • Training and certification
  • Must have a clean record, or must not have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor or crimes involving moral turpitude

When a bail bond enforcement officer’s license expires, should they wish to renew their license, they are expected to comply with similar requirements, including continuing hours of training and education, and the payment of prescribed fees.

Interestingly, some states also include prohibitions on who cannot become bounty hunters, and this prohibition covers various professions such as law enforcement, judicial officers, and lawyers.

Getting a job as a bail bond enforcement officer requires skills in other directions, too – networking, building relationships with the Bakersfield bail bondsman, and coordinating with law enforcement officers. Most of the work that comes to a bail bond enforcement officer comes through word of mouth and networks. The good news is that once you have begun to establish a reputation for yourself as a professional who delivers, then work is likely to come in a steady stream.

Those are the legal and statutory requirements for becoming a bail bond enforcement officer, but the personal requirements go much deeper. In a sense, one who becomes a bounty hunter should expect various skills to come into play: investigative, surveillance, physical fitness, self-defense, and even the ability to use licensed firearms. To round it all off, one who hopes to succeed in being a bounty hunter has to have diplomatic skills, too – he will not only be dealing with local law enforcement agents, but he will also be expected to adhere to legal means in pursuit of his goal of capturing or apprehending a fugitive. This requires a broad-minded, skillful, versatile person to deal with expected local politics while at the same time navigating the expected legal hurdles and physical dangers of his work. One might wonder whether collecting the bounty is worth it.… Read more

The Inmate Bail Bonding Process at the County Sheriff’s Office

The inmate bonding process varies depending on which state and which county you are in. Local laws and regulations are usually provided on which forms of bail are considered acceptable, where and how bail is to be posted, and how the bonding process works for the release of an inmate.

The amount of the bail, including whatever additional conditions are imposed, are issued by a judge. The Sheriff’s Office usually provides a list of what are acceptable forms of bail, and where bail bonds are accepted, they may also provide a list of which bail bondsmen are duly licensed to operate within the county, although personnel from the Sheriff’s office are prohibited from recommending any one of them in particular.


Other forms of acceptable bond include cash bond, personal recognizance or personal bond, or a surety bond.

A bail bond or surety bond is comprised of an agreement between the defendant and a bail bondsman in which the defendant pays a percentage of the total amount of bail (usually ten percent) in exchange for the bail bondsman putting up a surety bond on their behalf. Aside from carrying a list of pre-approved and licensed bail bondsmen, personnel from the county Sheriff’s offices are usually not involved in the agreement between the defendant and his bail bondsman. This means that the payment of fees and the provision of additional security or collateral are entirely between the two private parties.


The bail bond is posted with the Sheriff’s Office of the county in which the defendant is detained, usually in the county’s jail or correctional facility. Bail bondsmen that have been operating for some time in any particular county are usually not required to post surety for each one of their clients. Often, the local courts and Sheriff’s offices require only a blanket bond that is acceptable as surety from a particular bail bonds agency and will consider this as acceptable for any defendant for whom the bail bondsman acts as surety.

Once bail is posted, the defendant is given a court date during which he is expected to appear in court. There will be no issue if the defendant appears during those court dates. The problem arises if the defendant should abscond and jump bail.

When this happens, the bail is canceled, and a judge will issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant – now technically considered a fugitive. There may be two arrest warrants, one for the original charge and one for skipping bail. These warrants may be served by the sheriff and his deputies, but because they usually only operate within the county, a bail bondsman may hire a bounty hunter to track down, apprehend, and bring back a defendant to the court’s jurisdiction.… Read more

How the Crime Charged Determines the Amount of Bail

Various factors are taken into consideration by the judge when setting the bail amount. Some of these factors include:

  • Whether or not the defendant is employed and has close ties to the community, thus determining to a large extent the defendant’s flight risk
  • The defendant’s past criminal record, which can also determine the likelihood of defendant committing another crime before the trial date, thus demonstrating how much of danger he poses to the community

To a great extent, however, the actual crime that is charged goes a long way in determining the amount of bail. In fact, the crime charged determines whether or not the defendant is entitled to bail in the first place.


There is no such thing as an absolute right to bail, and certain crimes that are committed argue strongly against the person who was charged from being released into the community prior to and pending the resolution of his case. These are what are called non-bailable offenses, and are determined by law, not the judge. If the crime charged is non-bailable, therefore, the judge has no choice but to refuse bail. Non-bailable offenses include offenses punishable by death or imprisonment for life. Bail also cannot be granted if the defendant was previously charged with an offense punishable by death, imprisonment for life, or if they have at least two more previous non-bailable offenses if the current charge is punishable by at least seven years. In these instances, bail should also be denied.

Specific examples of instances when bail is denied include a charge of terrorism, or when the defendant is a repeat serious offender, with previous crimes of rape, attempted rape, murder, and attempted murder.


Most of the time, however, if the defendant is charged with offenses that do not carry such stiff penalties or which are not considered serious, the defendant is entitled to bail. And as a first step towards determining the amount of bail, judges refer to a bail schedule which prescribes bail amounts for common felonies.

These bail schedules are often also available in the jail where the defendant is incarcerated. So, after a defendant is booked, he can learn what the range of his bail amount will be. The more serious the crime, the higher the bail amount. These bail schedules vary by state and are determined by the local legislative bodies.

Because these bail schedules are readily available, a defendant can post bail and be released immediately within the next 24 to 48 hours after being arrested. If there are circumstances which a defendant feels merits the lowering of the bail amount, however, he can argue this in front of the judge during his bail hearing.

At the bail hearing, the judge is guided by the bail schedule, but he also has the discretion to either raise or lower the bail amount depending on unique factors that figure into each case. For instance, if the defendant is a repeat offender, as opposed to being a first-time offender, a judge is more likely to impose a higher bail amount.… Read more

The Role of a County Sheriff’s Office in the Bail Process

One of the foundations of bail laws in the United States is set out in the Eighth Amendment, prohibiting excessive bail. Federal laws on bail are set out in the Bail Reform Act of 1984, wherein pre-trial detention was allowed in situations where the defendant is considered a danger to the community, in addition to the original factor of risk of flight.

Additional exceptions to the right of bail were added throughout the years, including those charged with capital offenses, certain drug offenses, repeat felony offenders or those who were facing charges of obstruction of justice or witness tampering.

sheriff star

These are general principles set out in federal law, but the particulars for the actual imposition of bail laws varied between states. State law governed in specific cases, where some were considerably more strict than others, going so far as to provide a bail schedule which would govern judges in the bail amounts they imposed, depending on the crimes charged.

In the same vein, the types of bail are also governed by state law. Some states prohibit commercial bail bonds, for instance, although they allow other types such as cash bond, a release upon recognizance, property bond, or even an unsecured bail.

sheriff jail

When posting bond, a person can either do so at the court or the jail. In the latter instance, this can be done at the County Sheriff’s Office. Like police officers, sheriffs are law enforcement officers, albeit elected officials, who are responsible for keeping the peace and enforcing the law. A Sheriff’s office has the authority to make arrests, serve warrants or orders for arrest, among other investigative and regulatory functions. As part of their duties, they can detain arrested civilians in the county jail, which means that they are also responsible for the booking and processing of inmates. This also means that they have the responsibility for processing county jail inmates for bail, where applicable.

This means that a person interested in bailing out a detained person can go to the Sheriff’s office for guidelines and procedures on how to post bail. Depending on the office, they will usually prescribe specific rules and regulations such as what forms of bail are acceptable and how and where these are to be posted. Some county sheriff’s offices even carry a list of who are licensed, and therefore acceptable, bail bondsmen in the area.

In terms of the bail process, therefore, a county Sheriff’s office performs the administrative tasks before the release of a defendant from custody.… Read more