In the United States legal system, bail bonds agents and bounty hunters work together to make sure defendants appear in court for their scheduled hearings. Let’s go through the roles each of them play in this process.
Bail Bond Agent’s Role
When an individual is arrested and accused of a crime, they enter a legal process in which they must attend court hearings about the charges. As part of this process, the court has the option of setting bail, a monetary sum the accused can pay to secure release from custody until their trial or other court proceedings.
Bail serves as a form of collateral, providing assurance to the court that the defendant will appear for all required court dates and not attempt to flee or evade justice. By posting bail, the defendant gains temporary freedom while their case is pending — they can return to their normal life, work and family.
Bail amounts can be substantial, especially for more severe offenses, and not everyone can readily afford to pay their full bail upfront. This is where a bail bond agent steps in. A bail bond agent, also sometimes known as a bail bondsman, is a licensed intermediary who provides practical solutions for those unable to pay in full.
When someone seeks their services, the agent posts a bail bond on behalf of the defendant. A bail bond is a form of insurance or surety bond that guarantees the court the full bail amount if the defendant fails to appear as required. In essence, the bail bond agent vouches for the defendant and assumes the financial risk of their flight.
Bail Bond Process
During the bail bond process, the defendant must pay a non-refundable fee to the bail bond agent, which is usually around 10% in most jurisdictions. This fee is the cost for the bail bond agent’s services and it’s not refundable, even if you’re found innocent or the charges are dropped. The fee is compensation for taking on the financial liability and giving the defendant release from custody despite their being unable to afford the full bail amount.
If the defendant fails to appear in court as required, the bail bond agent may be liable for the entire bail amount. Thus, bail bond agents often take measures to ensure the defendant’s compliance such as checking in with them, using GPS tracking or employing a bounty hunter if the defendant becomes a fugitive.
Bounty Hunter’s Role
Once the bail bond is posted and accepted by the court, and the defendant is released from custody, it becomes the defendant’s responsibility to appear at all required court proceedings. Failing to do so can have serious consequences.
If the defendant doesn’t show up for any court date, they risk forfeiting the full bail amount. In addition to the nonrefundable bail bond agent’s fee, they may face additional repercussions. The court might issue a warrant for their arrest, charging them with bail jumping or failure to appear. These are separate, additional offenses from the initial charges.
If the defendant becomes a fugitive and their whereabouts are unknown, the bail bond agent may take further action, in some cases employing the services of a bounty hunter. A bounty hunter is a licensed professional who specializes in locating and apprehending fugitives.
The bounty hunter is hired by the bail bond agent to track the defendant and return them to court. They have certain legal rights and permissions, like the ability to enter a defendant’s property to apprehend them. Note that while bounty hunting is permitted in some states, it is regulated, and any Arlington bounty hunters must follow specific laws and guidelines set in Texas.
The dynamic between the bail bond agent and the bounty hunter is a collaboration to ensure the defendant fulfills their obligations and appears in court for all scheduled proceedings. When a defendant posts bail through a bail bond agent and leaves custody, the bond agent has a vested interest in making sure that defendant doesn’t abscond, jeopardizing the bail amount. The bounty hunter works as an independent contractor to track down the fugitive.
The bond agreement between the defendant and the bail bond agent may include specific legal permissions, like entering the defendant’s property, detaining them and ultimately delivering them to the authorities, law enforcement or the courts.
The Bounty Hunter’s Compensation
Bounty hunters are typically compensated with a percentage of the bail amount for successfully locating and apprehending the defendant. (This fee is distinct from the non-refundable fee mentioned above.)
The percentage paid to the bounty hunter as compensation can vary depending on the specific arrangements made with the bail bond agent, anywhere from a fraction to a significant portion of the original bail amount.
This is an incentive for bounty hunters to put forth their best efforts to locate and bring the fugitive in since their earnings are directly tied to apprehending the fugitive.
What Happens if Defendant Isn’t Found?
On the other hand, if the bounty hunter can’t locate the defendant and they remain a fugitive, the financial responsibility falls back to the bail bond agent, who may be required to pay the full bail amount to the court.
This financial risk is one of the reasons why bail bond agents often carefully consider the cases they take on. They may only employ the services of experienced and reputable bounty hunters to increase their chances of getting a successful apprehension. Bounty hunters are well-versed in locating individuals trying to avoid capture and may employ various investigative techniques and resources to accomplish their mission.
Let Us Worry
The relationship between bail bond agent and a bounty hunter is pivotal in the pursuit of justice.
Big Bubba’s Bail Bonds exemplifies this strong partnership, providing invaluable services to defendants seeking release. When it comes to securing freedom and upholding the principles of justice, Big Bubba’s Bail Bonds in Arlington is your ally.
If you or a loved one needs help in Tarrant County now, contact us! We are available 24/7 and can help with any bail at any cost.