How to Become a Bounty Hunter in Florida
In Florida, it is illegal to refer to yourself as a bounty hunter. In fact, the only 2 legal descriptions of bail enforcement agents in Florida are a limited surety agent and a professional bail bondsman. Florida lawmakers drafted the distinction into law in order to abandon the negative connotation of the term bounty hunter. Besides for this peculiar regulation, bail enforcement laws in Florida are not especially strict.
Florida’s surety agents are in regular contact with the state’s judicial system. Court clerks are required to give what is called an official notice of forfeiture to surety agents when a defendant jumps bail. In other words, before bounty hunters begin tracing a fugitive, they have to wait for the court to give them permission.
Florida’s surety agents, like all bounty hunters, make their arrests on the authority of a common law principle known fittingly as Right of Arrest, a tradition that holds fugitives of the law subject to apprehension through a number of legal methods. Proper arrest by a licensed bounty hunter is 1 acceptable means by which justice is ultimately served.
Florida’s crime rate is remarkably high, an unfortunate fact for most residents of Florida. Certain regions in south Florida are particularly notorious for their crime statistics. As a skip tracer, you may have all the work that you can handle. Young bounty hunters are likely to find a friendly job market shortly after becoming licensed. At the very least, you will find it easier to secure employment than newly licensed bounty hunters in most other states.
Become a Bounty Hunter in Florida
Prerequisites for becoming a bounty hunter, or a surety agent, in Florida are simple and straightforward. At a minimum, you must be over the age of 18, and a citizen or legal alien with a residence in Florida. In addition, you should be willing to submit to a thorough background check and credit evaluation as part of an effort by the state to ensure that only competent and ethical people join the ranks of surety agents.
If you meet all of the eligibility requirements detailed above, you may submit an application to become a limited surety agent. Along with a standard written application that requires you to provide your personal and professional history, you will be asked to provide at least 3 letters of recommendation from reputable citizens. These individuals must be residents of Florida and cannot be family members.
Florida also requires potential surety agents to pass a state administered written examination, which tests knowledge surrounding the profession, to include constitutional law and Florida-specific bail enforcement statutes. As a licensing condition, Florida requires its surety agents to participate in continuing education, mandating 14 hours of further education every 2 years.
Final steps in the application process include, paying the administrative fees associated with fingerprinting and photo identification, submitting to a full investigation of your financial history, and providing a verifiable business address located in Florida.
Graduating with a degree in criminal justice, psychology, or sociology is a good idea if you want to become a bounty hunter in Florida. A degree in any of these subjects will give you a broader understanding of the U.S. criminal justice system and will prepare you academically for other areas of law enforcement, like policing or patrol work, if you decide to expand your career options.