Bounty Hunter State Licensing Requirements

Bounty hunting laws vary, sometimes widely, by state. Some states have very relaxed requirements for bounty hunting while others have banned the practice outright. There are also subtle differences between licensing requirements, freelancing, transporting fugitives through multiple states and the people you can employ. If you are considering a career as a fugitive recovery agent, understanding the legal framework in your state, and those neighboring your state, is essential to saving you time and money.

As of 2012, 4 states – Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon and Wisconsin – have abolished commercial bails. Any defendant who wants to post bail must access a bond through a state agency. These states take very strong stances on bounty hunters and their practices. For example, if you capture a bounty or transport the skip through the state of Illinois, you can be brought up on charges of kidnapping.

Other states, such as North Carolina and Florida have forbidden freelance bounty hunting, and require you to work with a licensed bail bond agent. These states specifically ban working for more than 1 agent at a time.

While the majority of states have not banned commercial bail, they each have unique laws that you must be aware of. For example, in Louisiana you must wear clothing identifying you as a bounty hunter when entering private homes, and in Texas, you must take a fugitive to a local judge before transporting the fugitive across state lines. For the specific details on each state’s laws, visit the state pages.