Known more commonly as “bounty hunters” (a term not preferred by those practicing the profession), Fugitive Recovery Agents track down and “recover” (i.e. apprehend and return) individuals who have fled to avoid appearing before a court. Such individuals will have been released under a posted bail agreement and made use of a bail bondsman to secure their freedom ahead of scheduled court proceedings.
Fugitive recovery agents are, therefore, mostly associated with bail bonds companies, since they are the entity posting a bond on behalf of the arrestee, and who have taken responsibility for paying the full amount to the courts if the arrestee doesn’t show up.
There are, however, fugitive recovery agents who work independently of bail bonds companies, and are instead hired by individuals, in most cases, friends or family members who have put up bail on behalf of someone that they know, only to discover that they have absconded, which means that the bail money, which can be substantial, is at risk of being forfeited.
There are rules and regulations around the allowed activities of a fugitive recovery agent, and these vary from state to state, especially regarding what is allowed with respect to arrest and the licensing requirements for their activities.
Where allowed, fugitive agents may have arrest powers that exceed even local police. This is because when someone signs a bail bond agreement, they effectively waive certain rights and overtly agree to allow the bail bondsman to engage a recovery agent to locate, arrest and return them if required.
There are a few states that require fugitive recovery agents to be licensed, and a few that have prohibited their activities (Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, and Wisconsin), preventing them from making arrests. However, in these states there is generally a practice of court orders that provide local police with authority and direction to arrest the fugitive and hand them over to the recovery agent following processing. Some states have specific requirements that prevent recovery agents from driving a certain color vehicle or wearing clothing that could be considered similar to local law enforcement.
The one thing that recovery agents can never do is take someone they have apprehended outside the United States.
Apart from these restrictions, fugitive recovery agents are usually able to use whatever means is necessary to track and detain their target. While most agents are well trained in self defense and arrest procedures (and many have a strong background in law enforcement), they typically seek to outsmart their targets and convince them of the benefits of returning to face their required court proceedings rather than use force. Techniques may include surveillance, contact with family and friends or even providing false inducements (the promise of a fake prize) to attract and draw out the target.
Fugitive recovery agents are, on the whole, very successful, with studies showing recovery rates in excess of 90%. For an arrestee considering avoidance of court, this statistic should give them pause, since their likely fate is one of not only being forced into the court proceedings they sought to avoid, but having additional charges, and the likelihood of future detention with no opportunity for bail, as consequences.
Fred Frank Bail Bonds has fugitive recovery agents available to help you locate persons of interest. Talk to us today at 410-367-2245 or find us online at fredfrankbailbonds.com.